Trailer Tuesday: Mama

If you're an acclaimed, up-and-coming actress, you have to appear in at least one horror/supernatural thriller soon after a role that spectacularly wins the critics' love. Well, that seems to be the trend - see Oscar-nominated Jennifer Lawrence in House at the End of the Street, Cate Blanchett in The Gift, Halle Berry in Gothika... or is that Catwoman?).

 Anyway, recent Globe winner, and current Oscar nominee, Jessica Chastain is sticking to tradition and ticking off a few other genre boxes. On the verge of walking away with the Best Actress Academy Award for Kathryn Bigelow's controversial CIA-flick Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain is popping up on the silver screen again - for the eleventh time in just over two years in fact! - in Mama.

Executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, Mama is a feature film debut for Andres Muschietti, a Spanish filmmaker expanding his own horror short here. Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is Lucas, a man reunited with his two young nieces after five years. Their parents dead, somehow the girls have survived in a remote cabin all this time. They're practically feral, but Lucas accepts the responsibility of rehabilitating them and reintroducing them to society. Chastain is Annabel, Lucas's rock musician girlfriend. She's not particularly keen for instant motherhood but when an apparently supernatural presence - known to the girls as "Mama" - grows jealous of the new family unit, it's Annabel who resolves to dispel the menace.
Mama released in North America in mid January, leaping to first place at the US box office. Apparently the film is far from perfect - suffering from a typical case of "strong atmospheric start; overblown CGI-heavy conclusion," which is common with films of the horror/thriller genre. However, a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 62% Fresh suggests that Mama may be worth your while, particularly if you prefer scares and suspense to gore. Mama has been called an elegant or "arty" horror film, full of silence and striking imagery.

Personally, I very rarely watch horror films at the cinema, but for Mama I may make an exception. With its unusual premise, I'm intrigued...

Mama opens in South Africa less than 2 weeks from now, on 8 February.


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