Hey hey there my little darklings. As part of my self imposed efforts to better myself and give my very idle hands and mind things to do, I took a vow to update this piece of shit a little more (and I’ve said this all before so we’ll see how long it lasts this time.. as long as there’s no fucking Hemlock Grove to throw a monkey wrench into my plans)… And in taking this vow I’ve also made it my goal to feature movies that are actually good so I don’t have to spend hours writing up dick and ass jokes (as hilarious as they may be).
So I’ve been waiting a while to see the movie Mama, mainly because it was produced by Guillermo Del Toro and I have massively enjoyed his work in the past (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy 2: the Golden Army, and his production on the movie Splice and The Orphanage). He has this amazing way of adding these really dark and almost fae-like effects to his monster characters and being a sucker for all things faery, I’ve been hooked.
I will say in advance that I really really REALLY enjoyed Mama, though I have been told a lot of people found it somewhat confusing or that the plot used weird devices and twists… I WAS TOO FUCKING SCARED TO WORRY ABOUT THAT SHIT. THAT IS ALL.
The film opens up with none other than TV darling Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays sexy and incestuous Jaimie Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones, having just killed his business partner’s after some kind of failed business venture. He’s also killed his ex-wife and abducts his two daughters and drives them off into the snowy woods like a madman.
The movie doesn’t ever really tell you the specifics as to why he’s gone bananaphone crazy, but he has, so deal with it..
Also we find out that his wife-killing character, Jeffrey has a twin brother (also played by Coster-Waldau), named Lucas..
NOW THAT’S A SANDWICH I WOULDNT MIND GETTING IN BETWEEN.
Anyways, Jeffrey decides that after killing his business partners and his wife that the best and most logical thing for him to do is drive his daughters out into the woods, and crash his car.. possibly because he’s drunk.. they don’t super elaborate on that either.
Lo and behold within spitting fucking distance from the crash site is the Evil Dead cabin, hahaha neat! I’ve seen how this movie ends! He’s all like, “oh it’ll be fine kids, just stay out of the basement..”
So he all takes his kids to this cabin right and he’s weeping like a little bitch because he’s in a state of mental collapse or whatever, and he goes to shoot his daughter in the back of the head when out of nowhere A HORRIBLE SHADOWY FIGURE grabs him from behind, breaks his fucking neck and drags him out of the cabin.
Also theres a horrible stone.. fox.. wolf thing at the entrance to the cabin and both Scott and I thought it was actually a frozen wolf, as in real and had just laid down and froze to death, but it turns out it wasn’t. I thought they were maybe channeling some “land beyond the Wall” Game of Thrones shit, but apparently we are just morons.
Also the Jeffrey character is hardcore channeling the lead singer from the National, that whole steeped in booze, broody dude thing.
So.. about this horrible ghost figure (did you see how I avoided talking about it?), I will say I was totally fucking skeptical at this point, because you get a full on reveal of the ghost-entity-mama-thing BEFORE the opening credits.
Aaaaand, one of the OTHER ghostly movies to do exactly this is DARKNESS FALLS. Remember that piece of shit with the FUCKING TOOTH FAIRY? It showed you the stupid monster within literally five minutes and then proceeded to suck major donkey balls for the rest of the film. Also the tooth fairy is a pretty weak premise for a spooky ghost.. but anyways.
Needless to say, I was going “oh yeah..” in a really skeptical hipster voice over seeing the Mama character so soon, and Scott and I pretty well said that the movie better pull no punches with such a quick reveal.. and GUESS WHAT.. IT DIDNT.
Alright. I’m getting seriously anxious even just typing this.. I spent probably the entirety of this movie either behind my hands like an eight year old or shrieking so loud I momentarily woke my neighbor of his weed coma.
As the opening credits go up we are treated to some horrible children’s drawings showing the two girls being cared for by the Mama figure, who randomly feeds them cherries and what appears to be rabbits/raccoons/rats.. literally any forest animal, I guess. Also at one point Scott was going, “why does that bitch have three fucking eyes?” referring to a child’s drawing where she is crying a single tear drop.. And I went, “uh.. dude that’s a tear.. you asshole.” and he promptly shut right up. Scott would be all, “oh what a nice drawing of a marmot..” and the little kid would be.. “but this is you..”..
Five years go by in the world of Mama, and Lucas, the twin brother who didn’t have his neck broke has been paying Banjo and Sullivan to scour the woods looking for his nieces and incidentally has spent all of his money in doing so.. So for one last kick at the can these two trackers just drive off into the fucking woods, within pissing distance of the crash site and stumble into the Evil Dead cabin and surprise, find the two girls..
Let’s just say however, that five years removed from the world.. those five years have not been kind at all to those little girls and they run around all doing the bug-dance, half naked, dirty and covered in bugs/mud/twigs.
Both girls move in the skittery, jerky, horrible The Ring/The Grudge/Fatal Frame 2 style and it’s really just unnerving. I had blissfully forgotten about all this since it got played out when Hollywood decided to remake every fucking Japanese Ghost Horror movie, put Sarah Michelle my-career-wasn’t-over-when-Buffy-ended Gellar into them and call it a day. To say that the skittery little dead baby child bit got played out is a massive understatement… but seeing it brought back to horrible life again, I was reduced to a howling mess. It was honestly so gross and just.. I don’t even know. DO NOT WANT.
If I was one of those trackers I’d be all firing my gun off wildly screaming, “ITS COMING RIGHT FOR US!!! KILL IT!!!!”, but then I probably wouldn’t make a very good tracker if I just killed everything I had been tracking.
They don’t much explain how these children have been kept alive for FIVE FUCKING YEARS in the woods being cared for by a ghost who feeds them cherries and rabbit.. I will say however that that cabin must have smelled to high fucking heaven. If I eat half a bowl of cherries I come goddamn close to pooping my pants.. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if i had to eat them for five years straight. I’m surprised there wasn’t just piles of human fecal matter scattered around the cabin.. and since poopy is loaded with bacterial and leaves one prone to all sorts of infection.. how two children with no social or life skills would have been able to actually survive.. well the chances aren’t amazing.
But! There are all those cases of reported feral children.. so I guess it isn’t entirely impossible? Just sort of improbable.
All human cherry-shit aside, we find Lucas, who is a deep artsy hipster, and his gothy-punk girlfriend Annabel, in their bid to gain custody of the two girls. As to the whys behind this situation that isn’t really explained either.. since Lucas and his girlfriend don’t exactly display preternatural parenting abilities.. and if my brother went crazy and shot up his workplace and family, I certainly wouldn’t want anything to do with his creepy baby children.
I’d be all, “I’m living the dream.. go fuck yourself.”
Also here’s a picture of Jaimie Lannister on a bike:
As the Jack White warbles in the background, so we can understand the depth of Lucas and Annabel’s hipstery lives, they desperately fight the girls Great Aunt Jean in a bid for custody.
Again as to the why’s of what exactly this dude wants with his murdering brother’s creepy baby children.. they never really say? I’m not entirely sure either.. it just doesn’t make too much sense and I was wondering this outloud, Scott answered:
“BECAUSE A LANNISTER ALWAYS PAYS HIS DEBTS”
So.. there’s that… I guess.
Also at one point they go to see the girls in the loony bin and they’re all being creepy, climbing the walls like little rats and Lucas or whatever brings a pair of glasses for the one little girl and they have this weird moment where she recognizes him and they hug and it’s all touching and whatever.
Honestly though if that was me watching those kids from behind glass and they were you know eating their own excrement and rocking back and forth.. I’d be all, “pipe in the gas boys, because the fat lady is singing”. GOOD NIGHT YA LITTLE MONSTERS.
The girls psychiatrist/psychologist Dr. Dreyfuss tells Lucas that if he agrees to raise the girls in a house reserved for case studies he will get sole custody. Lucas goes, “A HOUSE?! FUCK YEAH!!” and of course the fucked up family moves in.
The first shot of the girls entering the new house, they kinda wander out into the back yard and there’s just scads of empty cardboard boxes like scattered around and of course since these kids are half animal now, what with the whole being raised by wolves things, they get into them and start fucking around. Just what you need right, emotionally crippled kids all popping out of boxes at you and shit. Yeah, no thanks. PIPE IN THE GAS BOYS. RELEASE THE HOUNDS.
..also.. if you think about.. who the fuck moves in like that all willy-nilly and just fucking fires the empty moving boxes out into the backyard. That’s.. kinda weird. Being that most people would you know break them down and take them to the recycling.. or you know put them by the curb for garbage pick up.
“hahaha, fuck it, the kids can live outside.. we’ve got a house now bitch!”
Most of my notes from this point in the movie are just ripping on hipsters, and also Annabel’s seeingly never ending collection of basic black “iconic” shirts.. like the Misfits Fiend Club one (worn ironically I’m assuming) and also the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas one (worn most likely because she does drugs.. at one point in the movie she’s just all hanging with her tough punk rock friend, eating licorice sticks and drinking heineken..).
Imagine that dinner table conversation..
“Mommy, whats on your shirt?”
“Oh just some monkeys on LSD.. no big D, eat your peas”
Ugh honestly, I’ve just been so ragey recently about little.. subcultures, and all their worldly trappings. I dunno, I went into Urban Outfitters in Vancouver BC for the first time a little while ago when I went down to see Ghost perform (I know right.. 27 years old and never been in an Urban Outfitters.. hahahaha fuck), and I almost had four or five anxiety attacks. First of all they were playing the melodic soundtrack to 2001: a Space Odyssey, and all of the staff were TRYING SO HARD to appear aloof and bored. I mean.. it really wasn’t my style. Also I think they were slightly offended that I dared enter their hallowed halls of coolness dressed as a Satanic Nun, buuuuut, whatever. People taking themselves way too seriously just always bugs the shit right out of me, I don’t even know what it is.. Something about the inability to view anything with humor.. but I’ll save all this for my upcoming review.
Regardless, this hipster bitch Annabel gets the role of motherhood thrust upon her in pretty short order. Also the role of single motherhood since the first night in their new digs, she and Jaimie Lannister are all trying to hit that and Mama flys into a craze rage and fucks his shit up royally by knocking him down probably four flights of stairs.. even though Annabel grabs a hammer and starts running around with it for a while.. which is obviously what you would do around two mentally broken little girls… Anyways, Jaimie Lannister is pretty well down for the count for the rest of the movie.. save for you know, the last ten minutes or so when he recovers out of his “coma”.
Pretty much every nervous father to be should just take a page out of his book and as soon as the baby is born just “accidentally on purpose drink too much” and fall downstairs and go into a coma and wake up.. you know 20 years later when all the child rearing is done and they don’t have to watch their teenage daughters become sluts.
Anywho, back to it.. Dr. Dreyfuss is kind of a scumbag in that he finds out, based on what the girls (or actually just girl.. Victoria.. since the other sister Lilly is not really able to speak) tell him about this “Mama” figure.. that she was an escaped mental patient who went all fucky and dropped her baby in a ditch or something and is now wandering the dark moors keening for her young (it sounded poetic when I wrote it).
So he starts amassing all this information and wants to do some kind of.. GHOSTS R REALZ expose, so he just doesn’t tell anyone about it, and keeps conducting interviews with the girls, which are sort of creepy.. being that he yells at them.
While all this is happening, life is pretty normal in the hipster house. We’re treated to a delightful scene of Lilly playing tug of war with Mama. And I repeat… DO NOT WANT. The whole bit was just creepy enough that it got under my skin and just sicked me out. I don’t know if its the creepy baby children or what, but this whole movie was just like watching a spider skitter across the floor at you.. IT WAS HORRIFYING.
Annabel, or whatever kind of steps up into the role of single mom, but she isn’t exactly parent of the year.. She can’t seem to act as a parent.. it just seems beyond her rock and roll capacity. Also she is channelling some serious Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and it bugged the shit out of me.
She is doing a pretty good job, what with living in a house where creepy baby children walk around on all fours and sing creepy lullabys to themselves constantly. It’s like if Silent Hill met Fatal Frame and just fucked around for a bit.
So the Doctor is definitely at one point just sitting in the dark like a lunatic watching creepy baby children videos on his lap top and he actually gets all freaked out and started psyching himself up.. and then he randomly goes to some archives or something where this old bitch in SERIOUSLY THE DOPEST FUCKING WOLF SHIRT ever hands him a box with this mental patient’s dead baby in it and starts.. reciting this crazy wank ass Cannibal Corpse style poetry about dessicated corpses and shit to him.. and holy moly that bitch better be in a metal band, because that was some HARD shit she laid down.
I definitely tried to find an image of the wolf shirt in question but I couldn’t, so you’ll have to watch Mama and see for yourself. That chick is seriously.. a hipster before hipsters were.. hipster? Anyways she’s fucking legit, but she should maybe look into getting a job.. you know not buried in the archives.. a little sunlight and socializing might do her a world of good.
Back at the hipster home front, good ol Aunt Jean rolls in and she’s actually offended that THE WILD FERAL CHILDREN, look *DIRTY* and immediately decides that they are being abused and calls Social Services. Like whoa there Nelly.. these kids were doing some Dances with Wolves shit and you’ve got a stick up your WASP ass because they aren’t saying “please” and “thank you” and “pass the fucking crumpets and peak freans”. What a dumb bitch.
Anyways, after this weird little visit, Doctor Fuckup rolls back in and he’s decided he’s gonna Real Ghost Hunters this shit and he starts riling up the little children and the horrible monster and then just kind of leaves.. and leaves all his crap and files at the house and drives off in the middle of the night to roll out to the Evil Dead cabin and get to the bottom of the mystery..
WHO FUCKING DOES THAT?
I’d be all, “it better be high noon before we’re going ANYWHERE”. If it ain’t light, it ain’t right. Fuck that noise. Oh armed with nothing but a flash light and your simpering manhood? Fucking sweet, that’s a worse premise than the Fatal Frame armed with a camera and the shortest miniskirt premise..
..actually it’s way worse because at least in Fatal Frame if you got all the endings you could unlock the bondage outfits.. and I know I think of whips and chains when I go ghost hunting. You gotta do that shit in style. GO BIG OR GO HOME.
Suffice to say that the Doctor gets his shit fucked over by Mama, but not before quite literally taking a page out of Fatal Frame and taking fucking pictures of her ass.. As to what happens to his corpse or the camera.. that isn’t really ever explained either.
Back at home Annabel is having these pretty fucked up Silent Hill dreams in which she sees through Mama’s eyes, and it turns out she was a mental patient (and also possibly slightly mentally disabled as well), who gets pregnant, has her baby, but the baby is given to some Nuns for some reason.. Anyways she busts out of the mental hospital, stabs a nun in the face, grabs her baby and makes a break for it out into the woods, where she is run up a cliff.. She takes a swan dive and her baby gets snagged on a branch on the way down and dies on impact, and she hits the water below and drowns.. and I guess can’t figure out that her baby died too? Or for some reason it wasn’t buried or.. I don’t know. It doesn’t get explained really. Mama is then left to wander the after life looking for her baby and when she finds the little girls she becomes their parent.
Annabel seems to take all of this fairly well.. it might be because she’s pretty much a hardcore goth.. she’s literally in nothing but black clothes the entirety of the film.. but mama does start making herself be more “known” to Annabel.
There’s one scene which is a little bit “The Others” for me in which Mama is under some blankets fucking around and Annabel thinks its one of the baby children and is all.. “go eat breakfast”.. but she realizes it’s Mama..
Surpsisingly she doesn’t do what I would do.. which would be scream hysterically, run around, and probably be on the next bus back to Punk Rock Land. PIPE IN THE GAS BOYS!
Anywho, since the Doctor isn’t soon to be returning from his ill-fated Fatal Frame style foray into the Evil Dead cabin, Annabel rocks over to his office and makes off with his lap top and finds out about his Girly Ghosthunters thang with Mama, and obviously gets pretty freaked out.
Mama ends up PISSED, because apparently she’s a jealous parent figure, which is entirely understandable in this day and age, and when Aunt Jean rolls up one night.. to perform a B&E and take pictures or some shit.. Mama possesses her and she takes the little children to the cabin. Not before she royally kicks the shit out of Annabel, but it really has to be seen.. so check it out.
Anyways around this time Jaimie Lannister wakes from his coma, in which his dead brother did the bug dance a bit and told him to go to the cabin.. so he just sort of wanders out of the hospital, rents a car and heads up there? As to whether he crashes or what.. somehow he ends up staggering down the middle of the road and almost gets hit by his wife who is driving like.. a Vanagon that is obviously going way too fast for that make of van. I know those bitches can’t do more than like 60km/h tops, so thats pretty fictional.
Anyways they roll up to the cabin and surprise, Aunt Jean is dead as hell, and.. the little children are at the top of the cliff Mama threw herself off, and Mama is preparing to take them into her ghostly arms forever.
After Jaimie Lannister and Annabel both kinda get their shit handed to them by Mama, and roll around on the ground a bit, the girls prepare to go with her.. but due to the love that she has grown to have for Annabel.. Victoria hesitates. She decides to stay.
Annabel whips out Mama’s dead baby and gives it to her and Mama briefly takes a human form in which she cuddles her baby.. but Lilly ruins it all and starts yelling for Mama.
Mama then does what any mother would do when confronted with the whole, “dead child or live child dilemma” and fucking fires her dead baby off the cliff.. AGAIN and takes Lilly.
Victoria tries to hold her sister back, but Mama and Lilly turn into a fucked up cocoon thing and take a swandive off of the cliff and Mama and Lilly explode into a swam of butterflies/moths, and Victoria calls one.. “Lilly”, and then everyone hugs and cries and whatever else.
Alright.. so I will say that the whole thing about a lot of stuff in that movie not being explained too well.. yeah it totally stands. Buuuut, we need to consider that Mama was based off of a Spanish language short film.. so I’m assuming like with all the Japanese Horror remakes, that perhaps something was.. lost in translation.
This does not take away from the atmosphere of the film. Mama is generally pretty fucking freaky, and though the film does give you a quick reveal, it doesn’t constantly rely on the “jump scare” tactic.. it has creepy, weird, yucky little scenes all throughout to keep it going.
I think it spoke a lot to some of Guillermo Del Toro’s other work in that it didn’t have a “happy ending”. It was very much like Pan’s Labyrinth to me.. where the little princess has to die to become the real princess of her realm, and the Orphanage, where the “Wendy” figure decides to die to become mother to the orphaned children.
I really liked it, it was scary as hell, and had Scott not been with me, I’d have slept with all the lights on.
Drunk in a Graveyard rating – drink as much as you want, because once you start voiding your bowels in terror, it isn’t going to fucking matter.
In truth I was actually pretty sober for this flick.. boring, I know. Buut, regardless i really enjoyed this one, so that was a big plus for me.
So remember kids, when going ghost hunting, up with miniskirts and stay spooky!
(also of note, this review was done for Drunk in a Graveyard and was submitted as part of robin goodfellow’s bid to join the thehorrorhoneys.com)