Mama is an old-fashioned horror film that works well primarily because it rests on the basics – fear of the unknown, a plot that connects so well with the audiences and a couple of brilliant performances from the actors. The movie is about a dead woman “Mama” who connects with two kids through holes in the walls. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, the movie definitely ranks high in the list of good horror movies.  You have elements of supernatural horror coupled with empathy and thought-provoking emotions – a good combination for a horror movie.

Mama starts with an introduction of Jeffrey, a depressed man who murders his wife, kidnaps his two little daughters and disappears mysteriously. And then the movie shifts to what is the situation now – five years later. Jeffrey’s brother, Lucas has hired men to find his nieces. Well, they definitely find them but only in an abandoned cabin and with very beast-like mannerisms. You can conclude this is the result of the prolonged isolation from mankind in their formative years. Lucas and his guitarist girlfriend Annabelle take the girls and keep them at the hospital with interventions from a psychiatrist before they take them home.

Jessica Chastain resorts to her new life of the mother with much reluctance but quite some commitment. Her performance as a rock-bad guitarist and then as the reluctant mother fighting the supernatural force to save the kids is indeed commendable. On different occasions, she tries to connect with the two kids. The elder one, Victoria, having recalled some basic vocabulary gets back to being more of a human being but Lily is more primal. The performance of these kids, especially Lily is breath-taking.

I am a firm believer that the best horror movies are the ones wherein you don’t see anything actually happening. It is the anticipation of something about to happen that makes it scary. Mama scores well in this section until almost the end of the movie. This is when the audience finally gets to see Mama and inspite of everything, you feel her pain and empathize with her. The climax could have been a little well made but at the same time, is unexpected. Yet, Mama is spooky and one of the good horror movies that have been made. The sepia tone of the movie, the gray shades and of course, the highlight of the darkness all add to creating a mood of the supernatural. Few good chills, silence coupled with sound effects though a commonly used technique in horror movies does contribute to the experience.

Overall, Mama is a terrifying movie with a beautiful story. Inspite of lacking the gruesome details, it is endearing and a definite recommend to all horror-lovers.