‘Mama’: 3 out of 5 stars

The best part about “Mama,” Guillermo del Toro’s latest project, is that it succeeds where most horror movies fail miserably – acting.

In fact, the character development and complex plot almost make you forget how predictable the movie really is. The plot (which by itself is creative and well-written) follows two young sisters who grow close to a motherly demon while stranded in the woods. After five years pass, the sisters are found by their uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his punk-rocker girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain – who singlehandedly saves the movie from being mediocre), who take them home in hopes of restoring a sense of normalcy into their lives. Unfortunately, prying them away from their new motherly figure proves harder than expected.

The movie itself is best described as exciting. The theatrics waste no time, and the drama washes over immediately. Within five minutes, you can expect to go from casually tweeting and eating popcorn to staring at the screen as if it holds the answer to all of life’s questions. However, the dramatic elements eventually drag on, and the movie itself gets too fantasy-oriented to remain believable. Late in the movie when “Mama” finally makes her entrance, cheesiness ensues.

Chastain, who spends nearly every second on screen, is absolutely perfect in her role, demonstrating her natural acting ability and range. In addition to the usual chills, audiences can expect a polished, dialogue-based product not typically seen in the horror genre. While nothing too special, “Mama” is certainly a quality horror flick.

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