"Mama" brings new style to the horror genre. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, it has his similar sense of style (Think "Pan’s Labyrinth") but is still something completely surprising given neophyte director Andrés Muschietti. The only thing that’s slightly off-putting is the presence of current Hollywood It-girl Jessica Chastain.
"Mama," is based on the haunting and eponymous short film by Muschietti and his sister and co-writer, Barbara Muschietti. It is unlike anything that’s really been seen in horror. It manages to play on suspense, be visually masterful and a haunting you wouldn’t expect. The short, along with bonus featurettes about the adaptation process, are available on the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo.
"The Birth of Mama" includes interviews with del Toro, and the Muschietti siblings about the steps in turning a three-minute short into an entertaining horror film. What made "Mama" so unique is it is a continuous segment. Creating a back-story and elaborating on the origins and motivations of the three characters, a maternal ghost and two orphaned girls, was no small feat.
"Matriarchal Secrets: The Visual Effects of Mama" showcases some of the genius effects so often thought of in del Toro films. Using his preferred effects team and blending CGI with prosthesis creates something so rich and life-like you may be afraid to go to sleep. It makes great use of the Blu-ray HD. Also, notable is meeting the nearly 7 foot actor that plays Mama.
The features also include deleted scenes which are really just trimmed scenes. Also included is a commentary by the Muschietti siblings.
Sadly, Chastain is the only performance that’s really a dud. The other actors including "Game of Thrones" star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau deliver compelling A+ performances considering the horror genre. However, Chastain’s pass at a guitar playing anti-mom with a Joan Jett haircut is B-movie laughable.
"Mama" excels in elevating the horror genre. It builds tension and some truly creepy images while including style and great performances.