Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 100 minutes
Age Appropriate for: 13+. How scared viewers will be depends on how far they can go with their ghost stories. Some cursing, some kissing, and lots of nightmarish and creepy stuff, like a terrifying ghost who floats like a wraith and moves like a spider, a child eating bugs, some beating and stabbing, and general weirdness. The film’s effect, though, is somewhat depleted by its very obvious use of CGI—nevertheless, there are a very “gotcha!” moments that will linger.
‘Mama,’ executive produced by master of horror Guillermo del Toro, has the potential to be quite terrifying. The darkness, the mystery, the suspense—it’s all there. But the film’s insistence on explaining too much of its macabre tale is what will leave viewers ultimately unsatisfied.
By Roxana Hadadi
Guillermo del Toro seems perfectly at home when terrifying viewers, and man, does he love ghost stories. “The Devil’s Backbone,” “The Orphanage,” “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”—in that selection from his filmography alone, del Toro has a penchant for mixing scares with sentiment, often attempting to fuse fear with longing. And interestingly, each of those three films has a focus on the family, on the camaraderie between abandoned children and the need for youthful companionship. The latest film del Toro has executive produced, “Mama,” plays with those same themes, too. But “Mama” ultimately suffers from a repetitive visual style and unnecessary flashbacks that detract too much from the film’s initial scares.