Niagara Gazette — This is the first feature directed by Argentina’s Andres Muschietti. It’s based on a short film he made in 2008. He wrote the screenplay with his sister Barbara Muschietti and Neil Cross. The producer is Mexico’s horror maestro, Guillermo del Toro.
Lucas is played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau and the therapist by Daniel Kash. Victoria is acted by Megan Charpentier, and Isabelle Nelisse plays Lily. All four give it their all. However, it’s the appearance of current acting favorite Jessica Chastain as Annabel that has given the picture more buzz than it might normally receive. Chastain made this film before she made “Zero Dark Thirty,” the movie that would make her an Academy Award favorite. However, with her blonde hair dyed black and her genuinely believable characterization, it’s clear that she isn’t slumming.
“Mama” has dream sequences and dark humor and a keen respect for the audience’s intelligence. What it doesn’t have is a perfect ride to its interesting conclusion.Michael Calleri reviews films for Night and Day. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.