Weekend Watch: The Quest for the Perfect Horror Movie

Weekend Watch reviews the horror film "Mama," currently showing in theaters.

I like horror films. I think it has something to do with being born six days before Halloween. Or maybe it’s because of the time when I was about 6 or 7 years old and my dad allowed me to skip my dreaded Saturday chores to watch the movie “Psycho” because even though I hadn’t seen it, I declared that it was my “favorite” movie. He had only one stipulation: I had to watch the entire movie. After the shower scene began, I knew I had made a terrible choice. After sitting through the entire film I was damn near traumatized.

Well, even though I had nightmares for a week, I didn’t end up needing years of therapy. I did however, gain a love for horror films and the intense feelings they invoked in me. Some would say I’m obsessed. This obsession leads me to constantly seek out the latest and greatest films with the hope that they will live up to my high expectations.

That’s why I had been waiting to see “Mama” (2013) for like the last 6 months.

“Mama” focuses on the struggles, natural and supernatural, encountered by Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Annabel (Jessica Chastain) when they take in Lucas’ nieces who have been abandoned in the woods for the last 5 years.

Warning: Potential spoilers ahead.

From the trailer it is easy to glean that this film is a ghost story. And In the current film climate, with all of the crappy horror films being produced, a director needs to do something out of the ordinary to get me interested. So as I watched the first 20 minutes of the film I began to get a sinking feeling that I had once again been duped. But I was dead wrong.

Andres’ Muschietti takes what could be a boring story, and uses it to analyze the idea of motherhood. What makes a woman into a mother, and where is the line between protecting your children, and being harmfully overprotective? He answers these questions by not only developing Annabel from a tired cliché’ (rocker chick) into a well-formed character, but giving us insight into who Mama is, and forcing us to either empathize or sympathize with her.

I thought the little girls in the film did a great job, in particular, Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) who just cannot seem to shake her feral behavior. She embodies something both terrifying and humorous and shows that love truly does have no bounds.

If you like horror films, especially ones with substance, head down to your local theater and check out “Mama.” 

What's your favorite horror movie? Did you see "Mama"? Comment and share your reviews below.

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XBerkeleyite February 10, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I vote for "Night of the Hunter," with Robert Mitchum. At his very best, M. portrays a relentlessly sinister psychopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Worse, he is a faux evangelical, hell fire and brimstone spouting "pastor" in pursuit of two cute little kids with intent to do harm if necessary to snatch the little girl's tightly held money stuffed teddy bear. I first viewed this masterfully shot, beautifully lit film as a 17 year old naive student at Berkeley, while babysitting alone in a dark, dingy apartment on Piedmont Avenue. Dang, it was effectively scary. Charles Laughton's first and only directorial film is a work of art on many levels, in my view. I saw Mitchum once again, stalking clean cut attorney Gregory Peck and his photogenic, all-American family in another eerie fear fest, "Cape Fear," a couple nights ago on one of the cable movie channels.


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