“It was one of the scariest little scenes I’ve ever seen.” A bold statement, but even more notable when Guillermo del Toro says it. Considered to be one of the top horror directors working today, del Toro is known for creating new takes on old tales (the twisted vampire tale, Cronos) and monstrous creatures (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy). As of late he has turned to producing, “presenting” a range of films which he finds to be pushing forward the world of horror. The latest, Mama, is out this month, and was inspired by a chilling short by Andres Muschietti.
Noting the “ingenuity and the horror” of the short, del Toro introduces the tautly crafted work by Muschietti (who will directing the feature version). In a twist of supernatural possession, here the children must flee from the parental figure, their mama. Simple in concept, Muschietti quickly establishes a sense of dread, as a figure slowly approaches a sleeping child. “Mom is back,” says a young girl in Spanish, waking her sister in order to flee from the domestic terror. And it soon becomes apparent why. Dressed in a white nightgown with eerily static hair, mama is not a maternal figure.
In the feature version Jessica Chastain (sans red-locks) stars as the adoptive mother of two young girls who were lost in a forest for five years. Assumed to be scarred by this experience, it soon becomes clear there’s something more sinister than fractured psyches at play, as they are haunted by the spirit of their biological mother.
Orphans! Mean mothers! Jessica Chastain with black hair! Seems like a solid recipe for something spooky.