Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Mama, dir. Andy Muschietti, scr. Neil Cross, Andy Muschietti, Bárbara Muschietti, st. Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash

Not even the presence of Guillermo del Toro, über-curator of the inky-black fairytale and imminent Pacific Rimmer, here serving as executive producer, can fool you into thinking you're watching a bona fide del Toro movie, although kudos to this Spanish/Canadian effort which borrows the former's penchant for sentimentality-infused horror, with the latter's accessibility. Speaking of borrowing as we are, Mama offers no apologies for appropriating a whole slew of specific filmic tropes - oozing and oily tendrils that leak from walls, underwater-swirling floaty-haired ghostly apparitions, and a valiantly schmaltzy score from The Orphanage composer Fernando Velázquez. Luckily, the solid casting of Chastain and Coster-Waldau ensures watchable performances even if Doctor Who scribe Neil Cross has been a bit stingy with the amount of meat he affords his characters. There are plenty of tricks of light and sound and sleight of hand to satisfy, and I suppose it's a testament to the jolts and scares' appeal to the primal that makes these kind of BOO!s still effective after all these years. As del Torro-lite then, Mama forms a credible if not wholly satisfying experience.