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As far as ghost stories go, Mama is rather run-of-the-mill: sufficiently engaging not to put you to sleep but yet not brave enough to waive aside the compulsory boo!s accompanied by loud screeching violins.
Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is looking for his two nieces, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse), who went missing after the car in which they were travelling, driven by their runaway father, skidded off a snowy road and crashed into the woods. The two girls spend five years living in an abandoned cabin with a mysterious presence before they are discovered by a search party and returned to their uncle and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain). The sinister guardian, though, does not want to give up on the girls.
The film carries an intriguing premise involving motherhood and the maternal instinct (manifested primarily in Annabel’s character arc vis-à-vis the ghostly apparitions), and a lamentably undeveloped fairy tale ambience that, due to its perfunctory inclusion, sits uncomfortably with the rest of Andy Muschietti’s film. Creepy cabin in the woods, feral children, and some interesting dream sequences: pity about the rest.
Perfect for a harmless night out.