Brief review: Produced by the visionary director Guillermo del Toro, "Mama" is Andrés Muschietti's debut full-length feature, based on his own '08 short of the same name. The good news is, "Mama" is arguably the best January horror release since 2010's "Daybreakers", but the not so good news is, it doesn't break any new ground in terms of originality. Even though the plot can't really escape the ghost story cliches, the movie still succeeds in capturing the viewer's attention, due to the finely-written script, and the intriguing story that not only makes you constantly wonder who is Mama, and why is she so overprotective and evil, but also provides you with all the answers towards the end, leaving you satisfied and without any question marks in your head. Also, the half happy, half sad ending of the film is pretty emotional, and the perfect bittersweet conclusion to the story. "Mama" is frightening as well, and not in a cheap way. The solid scares are only a couple, but the suspense is consistent, the movie's eerie atmosphere is utterly effective, and Mama herself is creepy as hell. Sure, the editing is questionable, and that affects the overall pacing of the film, but Muschietti's accomplished direction, slick cinematography, and stylish color palette make up for that. Jessica "The Chameleon" Chastain does a phenomenal job in an untypical role that proves her versatility, but it's Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse that steal the show, with the latter being absolutely sensational.
Overall summary: Sinister, atmospheric, solidly-acted and technically-polished, yet slightly incoherent and not particularly original, "Mama" is an above average ghost story, that manages to deliver thrills, chills, high entertainment value as well as touching and effective climax.