MAMA (2012) Reviews and overview

New! Visitor ratings! Click on a star to indicate your rating of this movie!

mama poster

‘A mother’s love is forever’

Mama is a 2012 Spanish-Canadian horror film directed by Andy Muschietti (IT and IT: Chapter Two) starring Jessica Chastain. The film was produced by J. Miles Dale and Barbara Muschietti, with Guillermo del Toro serving as executive producer. It is based on Muschietti’s 2008 Spanish-language short film of the same name.



Five years previously, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished from their suburban neighborhood without a trace. Since then, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them.  But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.


As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house.  Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them?  How did the broken girls survive those years all alone?  As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence…


“With fine special effects and a good sense of creating a mood and pacing the jolts, Andy Muschietti shows a reassuringly confident hand for a first-time director, pulling off some fine visual coups through smart camera placement and cutting, and not taking the whole thing so seriously that it becomes overwrought.” Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter


Buy DVD | Blu-ray + UV from

“Once you get past the premise, where it becomes clear where everything is going and as the script wheels old hat genre devices into play, you cease to become engaged in what happens in the film because it holds no surprises, no unexpected shocks, no characters of any interesting depth, just the ratcheting of creaky old horror movie devices.” Richard Scheib, Moria

Thanks to a combination of CGI and a performance by the extremely thin, extremely tall Spanish actor Javier Botet, this is one frightful Mama […] Some elements of Mama, including the dream sequences, are reminiscent of Japanese horror films. There’s also some dark and wicked humor, as when Lilly plays and giggles with an offscreen Mama while Annabel goes about household chores…” Roger Ebert

Cast and characters:

  • Jessica Chastain … Annabel
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau … Lucas / Jeffrey
  • Megan Charpentier … Victoria
  • Isabelle Nélisse … Lilly (as Isabelle Nelisse)
  • Daniel Kash … Doctor Dreyfuss
  • Javier Botet … Mama
  • Jane Moffat … Jean Podolski / Mama (Voice)
  • Morgan McGarry … Young Victoria
  • David Fox … Burnsie
  • Dominic Cuzzocrea … Ron
  • Christopher Marren … Cop (as Chris Marren)
  • Julia Chantrey … Nina
  • Ray Kahnert … Judge
  • Diane Gordon … Louise
  • Matthew Edison … Young Cop

Technical details:

100 minutes
Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS | Dolby Atmos
Aspect Ratio: 1.85: 1


Originally set for an October 2012 release, Mama was released in American movie houses on January 18, 2013, opening at number 1 with a gross of $28.1 million, which was over double initial estimates.


MOVIES and MANIA provides an aggregated range of film reviews from a wide variety of credited sources, plus our own reviews and ratings, in one handy web location. We are a genuinely independent website and rely solely on the minor income generated by internet ads to stay online and expand. Please support us by not blocking ads. If you do block ads please consider making a small donation to our running costs instead. We'd really appreciate it. Thank you. As an Amazon Associate, the owner occasionally earns a small amount from qualifying linked purchases.