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Film Review: 'Mama'

January 18, 2013 2:28 a.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando reviews "Mama."

Related Story: Review: 'Mama'


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ANCHOR INTRO: Halloween's long past but it's never too late for a good ghost story. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says Guillermo Del Toro is once again mentoring a new director, this time with the film Mama.

In addition to directing fantastical films, Guillermo Del Toro has made a point of producing movies showcasing young directors. Mama is Andrés Muschietti's feature adaptation of a short horror film he made in 2008. The story focuses on two little girls.

CLIP Victoria and Lily were found in deplorable conditions, their parents gone, alone in the wilderness for at least 5 years, how they survived is unexplainable.

The girls are like feral animals, especially young Lily who runs around on all fours and can barely speak. Their uncle takes them in and tries to tame them by offering a loving home with him and his girlfriend. But the girls have brought something with them from the woods.

CLIP screams

Something they call Mama. She may be an imaginary being created to help them survive or perhaps she is something supernatural. The film serves up a splendidly crafted ghost story that delivers chills, beautifully creepy visual effects, and even some true emotional drama. Jessica Chastain, in a role very different from that of the CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty, impresses us as a woman slow to develop maternal instincts.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.