Today’s Prayer Focus


MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Supernatural-Horror Thriller
Length: 1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release: 2013
USA Release: January 18, 2013 (wide—2,647 theaters)
DVD: May 7, 2013
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

mother murdered

evil presence in house

demons in the Bible

ghosts in the Bible


final judgment

Featuring Jessica ChastainAnnabel
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau … Lucas/Jeffrey
Megan Charpentier … Victoria
Isabelle Nélisse … Lilly
Daniel Kash … Dr. Dreyfuss
Javier Botet … Mama
Jane Moffat … Jean Podolski/Mama (Voice)
Morgan McGarry … Young Victoria
David Fox … Burnsie
See all »
Director Andrés Muschietti (Andy Muschietti)
Producer Toma 78 (Spain)
De Milo (Canada)
See all »

“Who is MAMA?”

“Mama” opens with a news anchor narration telling a story of a male employee who went to his former place of employment and opened fire on his former employers, killing one and critically injuring the other. The man then travels home to murder his wife, after committing these heinous acts (which are not actually shown). The man turns to his two young daughters. With his daughters scared and confused, the distressed father loads them in the car and begins to drive—speeding down an icy road. The father swerves and crashes the car, with the girls inside. Surviving the crash, the father finds an old cabin and takes the children inside. Overcome with guilt and shame, the man resolves to kill his daughters and then himself. Before the father can pull the trigger on his daughters, he is killed, leaving the daughters abandoned for 5 years. Although the girls are abandoned, they are not alone.

I originally saw the trailer a couple of months ago and wanted to see the film. Why? Two reasons, the acting talents of Jessica Chastain and the work of Guillermo del Toro. Having been scared out of my mind by his films including, “The Orphanage” and others, the man truly has a talent for horror. Back to acting, all around, the acting is above average for the genre. The two sisters played by Isabelle Nélisse and Megan Charpentier are eerily believable and add to the overall fear-filled plot. The acting of the other cast is better than expected for the typical horror flick. The plot is solid, easy to follow, but not predictable, which is refreshing. I must also mention the art direction and cinematography; it was top shelf and truly pulled me into the film.

As for objectionable content, to my surprise there wasn’t a lot. I counted 3 blasphemies (JC) and (“Thank you God” for a negative pregnancy test) and about 6 swear words. An unmarried couple (lead characters) is shown living together. No nudity or sex scenes, though. However, it’s still not for kids or teens, in my opinion.

The films deals with mother’s love, abandonment, mental illness, murder and demonic spirits. In this world of relative truth, it appears that the events in the story seem plausible, but we, as Christians, know the true truth, that there is a final judgment after death, ghosts/spirits don’t linger after death, and God and God alone will right all wrongs.

“Mama” will leave you with an unsettled feeling, especially toward the film’s ending. It is a scary movie; I covered my eyes and jumped,0 throughout. It’s ultimately your choice whether to view this film; I give 7.5 out of 10.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—“Mama” is an eerily enjoyable film. It’s a rare treat when I find a terror movie that I actually want to see. Recently, I’ve learned that I have to do a little more homework when it comes to picking out the right terror movie to see, so I researched “Mama,” checking the critics reviews and the review by Ms. Gardner. “Mama” was just what I had hoped for and the critics were right on with this movie. “Mama” goes for more of the “when-is the-creature-going-to-appear” feel than overbearing gore, and that is why I respect producers (and also directors) like Del Toro who always tries to support or direct movies that go for that feel (like “The Orphanage”). Pretty much anyone can make a gore fest film, but to successfully creep audiences you have to have the right skills and Del Toro and Mr. Muschietti have those skills.

Granted, this movie is not for children. As for teens? My advice is to approach this film with caution. I was scared… and I’ve seen movies like “Mirrors” and “Chernobyl Diaries.” The violence isn’t over the top, and other objectionable content is present, but not of huge concern. Spiritually, though, this movie deals with ghosts and has an incorrect view of the “life after death” concept. Overall, I liked this film. Like I said, Del Toro impressed me once again, as did Mr. Muschietti in his debut as a director. I commend both gentlemen. Perhaps this will be the first real “terror” movie I own for my collection. “Mama” is a movie I recommend to some of the “braver” movie-goers, but one that is worth seeing, nonetheless.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Neutral—I thought most of this movie was a well-crafted effort. There was just enough mystery and mystique to make it a smarter than usual horror/thriller movie. Some of the visuals were extremely clever, and the camera work was eloquent. The acting was fair, and “Mama” was a rather nightmarish entity that could only come from the mind of Guillermo del Toro. However, the final act is what undid this otherwise solid movie. It quickly devolved into a silly and tragic fairytale-like conclusion that left me (and everyone else watching) gasping: WHAT??
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Bruce, age 49 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—“Mama” is not the type of movie I want to see. The only good horror movies that could possibly exist are the ones where heroes battle the occult, never submit to it, and Christ’s disciples are the victors.
Peter, age 22 (USA)

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