Director – Andres Muschietti
Cast – Berta Ros, Victoria Harris, Irma Monroig
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I first came across Mama while searching for horror shorts after really enjoying Red Balloon, and while this film only lasts a mere 3 minutes it sure delivers a heavy dose of horror for its miniscule runtime, leading the way for a future feature-length effort after garnering the attention of Guillermo del Toro.
The very young Victoria is awoken from a nap by her frightened younger sister Lily who insists that they must leave the home immediately due to someone coming back home.
At just three minutes this short wastes little time on development and immediately throws us into the horror. This entire short pretty much plays like a scene taken from a full-length movie, which may not win it any awards but is a damn good showcase for writer/director Andres Muschietti to secure the production for making this a feature effort.
I loved the storyline and how quick it moves, especially the usage of the girls fearing someone who has “returned” to the home – which just so happens to be their demon-possessed mother. The bulk of the piece follows the girls as their mother chases them through the home, delivering a few good shocks and a climax that I saw coming but was forgiving towards due to this being a short piece and the ill-nature of the climax.
Muschietti’s direction is good, employing great atmosphere in a superbly creepy home and using exciting camerawork to sell the horror the story provides. The look of the mother was great, although it bled cheesy low budget CGI (it happens with these films) that I was very forgiving toward, however what really sold me was the Irma Monroig’s mannerisms as the demon possessed woman, which was definitely the highlight of the film and the source of the horror.
Overall, Mama is a great short film that provides non-stop horror throughout its three minute runtime, which may not seem like much but it sure as hell is a good way to get a quick scare in when you don’t have the time for a full-length effort. The horror is good and Muschietti’s execution is great, making for a film that I really hope makes it to full-length status.