Friday, January 18, 2013
In Theaters: MAMA (2013)
(Canada/Spain - 2013)
Directed by Andy Muschietti. Written by Neil Cross, Andy Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti. Cast: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat. (PG-13, 100 mins)
Old-school jolts and some unusually strong performances for genre fare of this type elevate a potentially shopworn premise like MAMA's to a higher level. Yes, it's another story about a vengeful, malevolent spirit invading a house, but with the proceedings overseen by Guillermo del Toro (who's a bit more involved when he "presents" something than, say, the way Wes Craven would allow his name to be thrown on anything in the years right after SCREAM if the price was right), it's a cut above the norm, which, these days, usually mandates a found-footage premise. Not here. Del Toro protege Andy Muschietti, who also co-wrote the script with his sister Barbara (they dedicate the film to their mother), expands his 2008 short film of the same name and fashions a relentless, old-fashioned scare machine of a fright flick with no gore and only some occasionally wonky spirit CGI.