Directed by Andres Muschietti
Muschietti reprises his Spanish short film, Mamá, for US audiences with a little help from executive producer maestro Guillermo del Toro. While the trailer is atmospheric, there is a slight sense of desperation, as if the screenwriters compiled a scary stories checklist before starting the project.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jessica Chastain (Jaime Lannister and that chick from The Help!) are leading a happy, child-free existence until strange circumstances (and they’re always strange) force them to care for his two feral nieces who have been living in a spooky forest shack for the last five years. But who took care of these girls in the wilds and, more importantly, what did they bring back with them?
It will be interesting to see if del Toro can recoup a little cred since stumbling with Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, the last fright title under his production. I want to like this film, but there are some tired tropes here: creepy feral kids moving preternaturally fast, the unassuming couple totally out of their element, a wily child psychologist… there’s even some Silence of the Lambs moths thrown in for good measure. Still, the over-arching theme of who or what “Mama” may be makes the trailer intriguing, despite some flaws. The filmmakers might be hiding an ace up their sleeve if they have managed to present the title character in a provocative way.
By Kiki McGraw