Mama (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes


Mama (2013)



Critic Consensus: If you're into old-school scares over cheap gore, you'll be able to get over Mama's confusing script and contrived plot devices.

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Movie Info

Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. (c)Universal

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
as Lucas/Jeffrey
Daniel Kash
as Dr. Dreyfuss
Jane Moffat
as Jean Podolski
Morgan McGarry
as Young Victoria
David Fox
as Burnsie
Matthew Edison
as Young Cop
Maya Dawe
as Young Lilly
Sierra Dawe
as Young Lilly
Nick Hall
as Annabel's Bandmate
Ron Proulx
as Annabel's Bandmate
Hannah Cheesman
as Beautiful Mama/Skinny Woman
Elva Mai Hoover
as Dr. Dreyfuss' Secretary
Laura Guiteras
as Mama Voice
Melina Matthews
as Mama Voice
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News & Interviews for Mama

Critic Reviews for Mama

All Critics (166) | Top Critics (47)

While [Guillermo Del Toro] only takes an executive producer credit here on Mama, I doubt more involvement would have been helpful.

January 14, 2021 | Full Review…

Good acting can't forgive bad effects or narrative choices, and yes, there are a lot of those.

January 9, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Haunting and extremely atmospheric, Mama is a horror film imbued with an unsettling and affecting power.

January 1, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The problem is that [the] movie barely meets the minimum generic requirements, and thus comes off as pretentious for presuming to hover so airily above them.

January 1, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

[The movie] has more integrity than its creepshow peers. The story basically comes down to a dead-looking woman who doesn't want to be a mother fighting for parental custody against a long-dead woman who does. (Grad students, start your theses.)

August 1, 2013 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

If you can swallow the porcelain Chastain as a tattooed bass player in a punk band, then the supernatural hooey will not seem in any way hard to believe.

February 26, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mama

The premise is quite interesting and the first half wonderful uncomfortable. The Actors are doing a good job and there are a few neat jump scares. Much creepier is the sound design, though, which makes for an outrageously creepy scene, together with a camera flash. Unfortunately, the more often and the longer you see the monster, the more its CGI is obvious, which kinda takes you out of the experience. The showdown on a cliff looks like a classic goth setting but ends at least somewhat surprisingly. Not bad for a scary evening but with some wasted potential as far as the creature is concerned.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


It is frustrating to see an efficient (and very scary) short movie adapted into such a weak feature film that, despite some creepy moments and good visual effects, is sadly bogged down by a pile of cheap scares, clichés and inconsistencies.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Though Mexican director Guillermo del Toro did not direct this film, his fingerprints are indelibly placed all over this film. He has a producing credit and is always presenting in advertising, but it is director Andres Muschietti who brought the concept to the screen. Based on his short film from 2008, this reimagining has a larger emphasis on the specter, Mama's, backstory and places macabre elements into the story. While "Mama" isn't anything new, it is refreshing to see a film that places emphasis on the ethereal and the familiar in its ghosts. Mama is not an interesting character, or a great ghost in the long run. Her presence is always frightening, and the look of her from a peripheral standpoint is freakish, but that's only when she's in the shadows. When she plays with the children, or hides in plain sight, she is scary, as she plays the "other" rather well, but when we finally see her in full view, it's clear she wasn't constructed to be frightening. The character designs in del Toro's films have become much narrower in recent years (Most applicable in "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark") and in this film it's easy to see where his influence changed the look of Mama. Everything else about this film feels a bit done, but that's not to say it's essentially bland. Annabel (Chastain) is an interesting character, who likes her independence, values not being a mother, and has a carefree relationship with her boyfriend Lucas (Coster-Waldau). Are any of these characteristics explored to enhance her character and make the impact of motherhood via adoption apparent compared to Mama's obsession? No. Annabel instead comes off as petty and sallow outcast who is a little cruel towards the kids. The setting was great, the set-up was impeccable, and the kids in this film are perfectly cast and super creepy, but it all feels done before. There's nothing really new here, except in ghost design for the eponymous character.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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