Mama (2013) Spanish-Canadian
One small (very small) advantage of being disabled at home is not going to the theater to watch movies. That sounds... ludicrous I know but the last movie I dragged myself to (the hubby really wanted to see it) was such a chore for little enjoyment and I was sick for days afterward. And we didn't even try to see the 3D version - not because of cost, but because I get really bad headaches trying to reconcile the images with my astigmatized eyes.
The movie was okay, MIB 3. But it was hard to enjoy it (although Breslin's portrayal of the 'K' character was brilliant) because some idiot parent thought it would be perfectly all right to bring his maybe 6 or 7 year old daughter to a PG-13 movie and because it was packed, she sat beside me while her so-called father sat in the row behind her.
She did NOT think all the nasties and especially Boris The Animal were in the least way amusing - she was scared to death. My time was spent, therefore, trying to defuse the 'scary' for the poor kid by whispering what I hoped would be funny comments to her to remind her that this was total fiction and didn't the dummies on the screen look really silly? My tactics (I've never had children so I was winging this one) were only partially successful - the whimpering wasn't as bad and I even got a smile out of her, but she still was NOT HAPPY. Nice parenting job, dad. Eh, my parents were kind of the same - I remember being taken to movies like Play Misty For Me and then yelled at for not covering my eyes during the bloody part. DUH.
So my little blog here is mostly made up of the cheap or free older movies from the 50's to... whatever happens to come out on the internet. But the internet it getting faster and movies in theaters are staying for shorter and shorter periods before going to DVD so I am starting to be able to see 'new' movies that you either have just seen or not seen yet. This is not necessarily a good thing. When I take apart a movie, it's usually because of factors we come to expect from older (and cheaper) movies - acting, sets, plot (or lack thereof), etc. But with new movies with multi-multi-million budgets and in 3, 4, 50 D (or IMAX) that cost you up to... ummm, I actually have no idea how much those tickets cost. Anywho, you're spending big bucks and getting very little.
But I thought Mama would be a good bet. One, everyone (to me that means people that talk about movies on the internet) seemed to think it was extremely unsettling and spooky, and besides, it's a Guillermo del Toro movie, right? So it has to be terrific - del Toro doesn't do terrible. Remember when we used to think that way (briefly) about M. Night? And if you just said 'Who?' it proves my point anyway.
Guillermo del Toro brought us such goodies as The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labrynth (both which I will be reviewing hopefully soon), Hellboy (Hey, I liked it!), While She Was Out (Which I thought I was going to hate - who cares what happens to Kim Basinger? But it was good.), The Hobbit, and this one. Sort of. See, I kind of got suspicious when it said that del Toro proclaimed he was the Executive Producer. You know what that tells me? He gave them either his money or his name or both to promote the film. Ummm, yeah.
So once again I've gone on and on and no movie. There's a reason for that. This. Was. Terrible. I kept hearing how scary, how awfully spooky, how creepy, how... inventive. This is what I saw: Yet another movie full of creaks, fast moving shadows, near-miss encounters with the... thing, the typical man vs. woman - one wants the kids, the other doesn't, and toward the end it degraded to the typical freaking ghost story. With moths. Lots of moths. After Sadako, I had seen enough moths (and still don't understand what they're trying to say with them) for a lifetime. But here's the gist of the thing:
A businessman goes postal and kills his coworkers and wife, inexplicably taking his two young daughters out into the woods for... I have no freaking idea. In movie duh style he drives too fast on snowy roads and crashes down an incline. All are alive and he finds an abandoned cabin. He starts a fire to warm them up and then takes out his gun. Wait - he drives clear out to the woods, rescues them from the wreck, takes them to a cabin and warms them up and NOW he's gonna kill them? The DUH is starting early.
The girls are small - the older one has glasses so he takes them off so she can't see that daddy's gonna put a big hole in her. But before he can do anything we get that fast shadow that grabs him and kills him. The girls are subsequently taken care of by... something. Five years later they are found - walking on all fours, the only word they can really say is 'mama' and are adopted by the psycho's identical twin brother Lucas. It takes a bit but the older child, Victoria, starts to come back to reality after being given back her glasses. She can now see and recognizes her uncle. Lilly however is still little more than an animal, refuses to talk or walk and sleeps on the floor under Victoria's bed.
The uncle is granted custody as long as he, his girlfriend and the girls live in a house with equipment with which a Dr. Dreyfuss, who wants to study the girls, can observe them anytime. It's not long before the creaking doors and fast shadows start. When the girlfriend Annabel sees the shadow, she asks Lucas to check - he gets injured and is now in a coma. So Annabel, who has no maternal instincts, has to care for two difficult children who insist they belong to 'mama' and give both Annabel and Dr. Dreyfuss nothing but attitude.
Meanwhile, the girls great-aunt wants the two girls badly and will stop at nothing to get them. She suspects they are being abused (In the care of a doctor?) and when she doesn't get what she wants, she lets herself into the house to, I dunno, kidnap them? She too is eliminated by 'mama' who we are shown looks alternately like a regular ghost (that's a dumb couple of words right there) and a horrific looking monster (and the kids love her for it).
Annabel asks the doc to find out about this 'mama' and we get ridiculously stupid backstory: In the 1800's wherever the hell they are living used to have a mental asylum (because apparently there's one on every street corner in the world except where I live) with a psycho mom separated from her baby. It is revealed (slowly) that the mother attacked the nuns running the whacko farm, grabbed the baby, and when cornered, went to a cliff over the ocean and threw them both over.
She made it to the water - the baby got hung up by its blanket on a branch. I guess it died when it hit the side of the cliff because they later recovered a 'body' and put it in a box in a storage room. Uh huh. So 'mama' doesn't know her kid is dead and considers the two girls to be 'hers' now. Oh and we get moths. Lots and lots of moths.
Not wanting to do a lot of research 'cause I really didn't care - the bottom line is that most of the time when moths are in horror films they represent 'dark' souls - as opposed to butterflies being 'light' souls. Evil and good? Dunno, don't care. They're just everywhere and it's dumb.
So our 'no happy endings' story has a totally predictable conclusion - 'mama' takes the two girls to the same cliff, this time to get all to die like she wanted the first time. Since Victoria has kind of returned to normal, she rejects 'mama' and certain death and comes back to the couple. Lilly however only knows 'mama' and so both plunge off the cliff. So this is a win-lose situation? Duh. Oh and we get more moths. Lots and lots of moths.
Now how can such a little girl have a dark soul - 'cause one of them lands on Victoria and she knows that a part of Lilly is still with her. Oh goody. Oh but wait, this moth has bright blue wings so it's okay. I guess. Again, duh.