Film review: Mama (15)
Buried somewhere in this supernatural horror is a slyly subversive allegory on mother love. Sponsored by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), it spins a creepy tale of loss and possession: two young daughters (Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse) of a vanished murderer are found in a backwoods cabin, where they have lived on a diet of cherries and moths for five years.
Who has raised these feral creatures? Well, there's the rub – the older one addresses an invisible presence as "Mama", prompting a child psychiatrist to take an interest and thereby enable the girls' cool uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his goth-rock girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) to step in as temporary guardians. And there was Annabel thinking that she didn't want to have kids!
Director Andrés Muschietti handles the early scenes of family life with skill, showing just enough of the spectral Mama – a free-floating black miasma with a face – and of Annabel's confusion to make us uneasy. Del Toro's influence is felt in the creepy corridor shots, the weird gobbling noise announcing the spirit and the wall stains that sprout dark tendrils. Sadly, the last third falls apart in a daft muddle of ancient curses and maternal frenzies. I was only surprised that the cute dachshund survived unscathed.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
The Fall, series 2, episode 3 – TV review: The Gillian Anderson drama is starting to push the realms of plausibility, but who cares?
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police