Screw the armed guards in the schools, let’s get some firepower into the home, ’cause there’s definitely some malignant stuff going on there. In MAMA, a young couple (Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are saddled with a pair of literally feral children and have to contend with the challenges not only of raising a pair of kids accustomed to ambulating on all fours, but also of dealing with the malevolent, spectral force that’s followed them home. Mama don’t go for Fruit Roll-Ups.
Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons saw the latest in executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s attempts to resurrect the classic, moody horror films of the seventies, and come away with an appreciation for the film’s stylistic visuals and creepy atmosphere, but not so much that they can’t make generous sport of the film’s plot glitches. And boy, are there plot glitches.
Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.
Universal Pictures releases this horror film, presented by Guillermo Del Toro. Andres Mushietti directed, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Neil Cross and Barbara Mushietti, based on his 2008 short subject.The cast includes Jessica Chastain, Nikoaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, and Jane Moffat as the voice of Mama. The story has two feral siblings rescued from the wild and adopted by their uncle. How they survived is a mystery, but they may have an invisible guardian looking over them. Could it be…Mama?
U.S. Theatrical Release Date: Friday, January 18, 2013
Roland Emmerich can bite me. The guy’s been making disaster films since time can remember, yet for all his besetting humans with floods, fires, and earthquakes (and the occasional alien invasion), he’s never managed to make something as resonant, affecting, and powerful as TAKE SHELTER. A film that skirts the line between vivid fantasy and straight drama, it tells the tale of a loving, working-class husband and father (Michael Shannon) suddenly overwhelmed by visions of impending doom and torn between the compulsion to protect his wife (Jessica Chastain) and deaf daughter (Tova Stewart) from the onslaught and the fear that a family history of schizophrenia may be making itself manifest. This is director Jeff Nichols second feature (and his second with Shannon), and in weaving a scenario that balances vivid imagery with nuanced observation — and is highlighted by moving, vulnerable performances from Shannon and Chastain, among others – the film speaks compellingly not only to the power of familial love, but to a sense of creeping helplessness that’s overtaking American society.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Nichols.
What can we say? There were no new genre films being released to theaters this week, and Steve and Larry had schedules that prevented them from syncing up for a planned discussion of TWILIGHT ZONE episodes (we’ll try to do that at some other point).
So, instead, Dan sat down with his trusty microphone and a stack o’ news, and brings you up-to-date on what happened in genre in the past week and what’s coming to theaters and home video in the coming week.
Everything will be back to normal next week (relatively speaking). Until then, click on the player, and enjoy!