Archive for May, 2013

Horror Hauntings! The Hanover House: An Interview with Director Corey Norman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

In this interview I speak with Corey Norman about his upcoming film The Hanover House, a spooky haunted house flick that also focuses on the grief process. The film also marks Anne Bobby’s return  to horror, she is most famous  to genre fans for the lead female role, Lori in Night Breed.

The Plot

A freak accident leads protagonist Robert Foster to a mysterious house where he must battle his own problems as well as try to stay alive! With plenty of intrigue and a chilling plot, The Hanover House is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of this vein and not only that it was actually shot in a real haunted house, bringing in plenty of authenticity. It certainly seems a refreshing take on the haunted house sub-genre, something horror enthusiasts have been craving for a long time. In an unintended link with my last review on urban legends, potentially a ghost could well be captured on film! That would certainly be terrifying!

Corey reveals information about the film’s production, his overall vision for the film and his hopes and aspirations for the project.

The Trailer

 

1. Tell us a little bit about your upcoming film The Hanover House. How did the concept come about?

Returning from his father’s funeral, Robert Foster is faced with the unimaginable; he hits a young girl with his car. In a desperate attempt to save her life, he seeks help at a nearby farmhouse. Little does Robert know that the house has been waiting for him his entire life. Once inside its walls, Robert must overcome his own personal demon’s in an attempt to save both his wife and himself. But there’s a problem, only one may leave The Hanover House alive.

The Hanover House started with a simple idea; what if someone you lost could come back? What would you say to them? When I had lost my own father, I was thankful we had a strong relationship. He was my best friend. But then I thought, what if we hadn’t had a good relationship? What would I want to say? What would I need to say? That is how the film was born.

With my work, I like to start with a character with regular problems, and place him into an extraordinary situation.

2. Was the haunted house sub-genre something you always wanted to explore as a filmmaker?

Since I started watching horror films as a kid, the ones that would always creep me out were ghost stories. The first to really scare me was Poltergeist. I remember staying up late, afraid something would suck me into the tv.

The fun part about making a haunted house film is that there are so many possibilities to explore. I love the idea of letting the landscape of the house morph as the story progresses.

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3. Your official website reveals that the film was actually shot in a real haunted house. Did you encounter any spooky occurrences while shooting?
Prior to the production of The Hanover House, I wasn’t sure if I believed in ghosts or not. On my third night in the house, I was awoken by my two dogs standing on the edge of my bed, growling. Standing above me was the figure of an old man.

Other crew members saw shadow people, orbs and experienced cold spots.
4.Would you say the use of the location managed to bring a sense of authenticity to the actor’s performances?

There is something spooky about shooting in a haunted house at night. I definitely think this affected the mood on set. Things definitely took on a creepy vibe and our actors really let their performances reflect that.

5.The Hanover House marks Anne Bobby (Famous for her role in Clive Barker’s Night Breed) return to the horror genre. How did she come on board after such a long absence from these kind of films?

It turns out that Daniel Noel, a long time actor for Bonfire Films, was friends with Anne. They had done some theater work together some 20 years ago and had recently connected through Facebook. He asked Anne to read the script and she loved it. It was an honor to have her join our team for this project.

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6. Was it important to you to cast someone with prior experience in horror?

I don’t necessarily know if it was important to cast someone with prior horror experience. I saw this more as an opportunity to work with a strong actress who has played a diverse stable of characters. However, having name recognition in the film has helped us gain a larger following.

7. What can you tell us about the characters in the film?

Robert Foster has recently lost his father, an event that’s weighed very heavily on him, impacting his relationship with his wife. As a result, he’s really internalized a lot of his problems.

Shannon Foster is a strong woman. She stands by her husband during the good times and the bed, never losing hope in the power of matrimony.

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8. As a director, what challenges did you face during production and how did you overcome them?

Weather was our biggest problem during production. We had 36″ of snow on the first day of production, delaying the flights of both Anne Bobby and our Assistant Director Jimmy Crocco. It also slowed our travel greatly. On day 3, we received another 26″ of snow.

We traded snow for -25 degree weather in the mountains. This made our exterior shoots extremely uncomfortable. To make matters worse, our blood would freeze before even hitting the ground. On another evening, we lost half a shooting day when the pipes burst due to the cold.

9 .What was the most enjoyable experience of making The Hanover House?

It’s very hard to choose just one memorable experience from the making of the film. New Year’s Eve was definitely surreal. We spent the new year making a kitchen come to life and attack our protagonists. This meant swinging cabinets and a flurry of flying dishes.

I also really enjoyed the day we used 150 gallons of blood… But unfortunately you’ll have to see the film to see the effect itself.

It was also a dream come true to shoot on my first set. Our set designer has worked on some big name films: Crocodile Dundee 2, R.I.P.D., The Good Son, Empire Falls, Here Cones the Boom and Blown Away. Having Erik on hand to design a hallway and bathroom that not only fit my artistic vision, but also fit into the house stylistically, was incredible. Those two rooms in the house presented many logistic issues, so having this new location really helped sell my vision for the film.

10. What do you think genre fans will take away from it?

I tried to make a horror film that takes it’s time to create well rounded characters. I want the audience to develop a bond with these characters, and I want them to genuinely care whether they live or die.

11. You’ve previously stated the film will be circulating festivals in the coming months, which ones do you hope to gain screenings at?

Well, as an Indie filmmaker I definitely have set my scopes high for this one. We’d love to screen at: Toronto After Dark, New York City Horror Fest, The Mile High Horror Fest, Screamfest and Slamdance.

12. Who are your main influences within the industry? Were there any particular inspirations for The Hanover House?

I’m a huge fan of Ti West. I love his slow burn style of horror. I respect the early work of Sam Raimi and his low budget, DIY ethics. I love John Carpenter’s use of wide open, minimalistic environments. All of these directors have impacted me, but guys like: Polansky, Craven and Kubrick are large influences as well.

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13. Finally, could you tell us about your production company Bonfire Films, how did it begin? And what future projects can we expect to see in the future?

My company, Bonfire Films started in 2009 and has been making short films, music videos and commercials since. As we wrap up The Hanover House, we have entered preproduction on a short Lovecraft inspired, original horror film that will premier at the Damnationland Film Festival this October. We have also begun writing our second feature, Native American revenge film tentatively called ” The Reservation.”

I would like to thank Corey for taking part in this interview and I wish him, his cast and crew all the best with the film.

Interview By: Hayley Alice Roberts (https://www.facebook.com/HayleysMovieAndTvReviews)

Official Site for The Hanover House: http://www.thehanoverhousefilm.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHanoverHouse

**Second Anniversary Review** Part Two: Movie Mayhem: The Shocks Behind The Scenes

Posted in Anniversary Pieces with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

The second part of this special review surrounds the urban legends of film production and will look at some of the most well-known and eerie stories behind Hollywood films. Some legends have clearly been fabricated as a marketing ploy and have made the films more famous for it over the actual content. Supernatural played on this trope in the second season episode Hollywood Babylon which sees the Winchester Brothers go undercover on a film set where the cast begin mysteriously dying. Of course Urban Legends: Final Cut used a university film course as its setting and had cast and crew members being murdered on set. But what about the true life legends that have been circulating for many years, particularly since the launch of the internet, which will be further explored later in the review. I am going to illustrate through using particular films as case studies how real life rumors can expand into urban legends to create a sense of hysteria.

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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The production of the 1939 classic has generated many rumors however the most eerie remains with the alleged Munchkin Suicide. Snopes.com verifies that this rumor is false and that it may have began in 1989 when the film was celebrating its 50th anniversary and had been released on VHS. With home video being revolutionary at the time, viewers allowed their imaginations to run wild as they were able to pause and rewind between frames. The legend suggests that following the scene where Dorothy and Scarecrow encounter the Tin Man, the three characters make their way down the yellow brick road on the way towards the Emerald City. If you look closely in the background, there is an ambiguous figure hanging from a tree. Its been suggested that the Munchkin took his own life due to his unrequited love for his co-star who was also playing a Munchkin. There are obvious flaws in this story as during this scene no actors playing Munchkin’s would have been needed on set as the scene was not associated with Munchkin Land and shot before it. It has been put down to a stagehand accidentally getting into the frame while the camera’s were rolling. But of course, The Wizard of Oz is a classic family film, therefore if an actual suicide had taken place on set then it would have been re-shot and definitely edited in post-production. Images of this scene remain ambiguous as the alleged figure is position so far in the background, its difficult to fully make out. The Wizard of Oz as a snuff film…I don’t think so!

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Poltergeist (1982)

Unfortunately the rumors surrounding the Poltergeist Deaths can be confirmed as true. Whether the trilogy of films are in fact ‘cursed’ opens up another discussion entirely. Rumors suggest that the films had actually released malevolent spirits and caused the deaths of young cast members. This one all depends on whether you maintain personal beliefs of the supernatural, however some people do fail to separate fact from fiction and try to make sense of the tragic occurrences. Heather O’Rourke who played little Carol Ann in all three films, died of a mystery illness in 1988 and Dominique Dunne who played her older sister was tragically murdered by her boyfriend prior to the first film’s release. Dunne was choked to death after ending an abusive relationship at the age of twenty-two. Her violent ex John Sweeney was released after serving three years in jail causing controversy. Little Heather allegedly died of ‘septic shock’, the saddest part of her death is that she appeared to be a healthy twelve year old, no one saw it coming. She died prior to the release of Poltergeist III, so its not surprising that people made connections between O’Rourke and Dunne’s deaths as they only occurred six years apart and were connected to the same film franchise. The rumors have gone too far as an extreme variation suggests that every single person involved in the films has been killed which is clearly false as many cast members are alive and well. Two other actors Julian Beck and Will Sampson who were in their fifties and sixties passed away from illnesses after appearing in the films, ultimately it all seems down to pure, tragic coincidence. Similar rumors have also been speculated regarding The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976) relating to the ideas of the devil portrayed on screen, illustrating people’s fears about the break down of the church and religion as well as changing times. Let’s face it, its always easy to use films as a scapegoat when a tragedy occurs!

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Three Men and a Baby (1987)

Three Men and a Baby is a light-hearted comedy about three bachelors who end up saddled with a child, after the mother abandons her on their doorstep, hilarity ensues! Sounds like a fun, family flick, however a dark rumor spread around the internet three years after its initial release regarding the ‘apartment set’ the film was shot in! Allegedly during the scene where Ted Danson’s character is speaking to his mother and walking through the apartment, the figure of a Ghost Boy can be seen next to the window! Rumors suggest that the ghostly image is that of a nine-year-old boy who committed suicide in the building with a shot-gun. Interestingly, this rumor emerged in 1990, a year after the Munchkin hanging fabrication came forth in The Wizard of Oz and as Three Men… was released on home video. There appears to be a pattern as the two stories bare similarities of chilling images relating to suicide that “accidentally” appeared on screen and they were both noticed on the VHS versions of the films.

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It was believed that the studios may have had something to do with it, using the rumor as a marketing ploy, especially as the film’s sequel Three Men and a Little Lady was due a theatrical release. Very much like my comment on Poltergeist, it all depends on personal belief. It has been said that the boy’s parents moved out following his death and a film company took it over. Extreme theories even included the boys mother seeing his spirit on the film and going mentally insane. However, I personally want to dispel the ghost theory as in a later scene, we see a cardboard cut out of Ted Danson, which is used as a prop for his character’s television commercial. Funnily enough the prop is dressed in black and white, just like the ‘ghost’ and is seen close up in a later scene. Its amazing that the rumor is actually bigger than the film itself, try searching ‘three men and a baby’ into google images and the top search result features the word ‘ghost’ next to it. Another rumor suggested that in another scene where the men are singing ‘goodnight sweetheart’ to the baby Mary, a demon can be seen in the window but that’s just going over the top. If the studios were involved, I credit them as its such a clever ploy to get people talking about a film and more so at the time!

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The Blair Witch Project (1999) and the rise of the online legends.

This film used the internet to its advantage back in 1999 in order to create hysteria to promote its release. Back in the day, Blair Witch sounded like one of the scariest films imaginable and this was because people were unsure whether to believe if it was true or not. The subject of the film focused on three amateur filmmakers who were creating a documentary about the Blair Witch urban legend in 1994 in the village of Burkitsville, originally Blair. The students went missing but their footage was found years later. The legend goes, a woman accused of witchcraft was killed around 1785, following this, children from the village kept disappearing. It is said that the witch went on to murder the college students. Another variation, suggested by a man the students interview within the film is the Blair Witch was a child murderer who lived in the woods during the 1940’s, he would take two children into his basement, making one face the corner while murdering the other. The latter version proves more chilling! A first for its time, the Blair Witch filmmakers got three unknown actors, directed them to the woods with equipment and had them shoot footage, they were given notes to do so. The fact it wasn’t filmed traditionally, demonstrates how they wanted to achieve authentic reactions and suggest to the audience that the events going on were real. The internet was not as advanced as it is now therefore they were able to get away with it! Unfortunately nowadays so many filmmakers have taken this approach with horror, leading to ‘the found footage sub-genre’ therefore what the Blair Witch did has now lost its credibility.

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Since then the internet has been used to create urban legends which have gone viral, modernizing folklore as a whole. A prime example is chain mail, e.g. ‘if you don’t pass this on you will die!’ often in relation to a little ghost girl who has been murdered or involved in an accident. One of the more recent urban legends Slender Man has generated its own mythology and is a major part of internet culture, and now has a game and independent film made about it. With a similar premise, Slender Man abducts children and disappears with them. It appears that with easy access to urban legends and the creation of them on the internet, we have become desensitized in terms of our belief systems. Do they still hold impact like the Blair Witch once did? Or has the enigma been disbanded since sites like Snopes and articles like this one have dispelled rumors in comparison to the time when the internet was limited back in the 80’s and 90’s, and rewinding and pausing your home video was the only method of generating speculation?  Either way films and urban legends are very closely linked making separating cinema and reality difficult. As discussed films are made about urban legends and urban legends are created about films which creates complications regarding any notion of authenticity. Overall I still find urban legends a chilling and interesting subject and their online exposure only means more information has become available,  leading them to be analyzed in more depth.

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Thank you for reading and thank you for all your support over the past two years. I hope I can continue to provide you with new and interesting reviews and articles.

**COMING SOON: ASCENSION: BEHIND THE SCREAMS**

Hayley Alice Roberts

https://www.facebook.com/HayleysMovieAndTvReviews

**Second Anniversary Review** Part One: Urban Legends in Films & Television

Posted in Anniversary Pieces with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGERY AND SOME SPOILERS**

For my second anniversary review I’ve decided to look into a topic that has fascinated me since a young age. This review is going to explore the subject from two angles, firstly films that are based on urban legends and secondly the myths that have been created surrounding film production. Please be aware that I can’t cover everything, therefore I will only focus on the films and television shows that I’ve enjoyed. I’m aware the majority of these legends are pretty well known, so I’m just re-capping on the  ones that are associated with horror and horrific incidents that still send chills down the spine!

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Urban Legends are on-going forms of folklore that are told and passed on through communities over numbers of years. The stories aren’t necessarily true and are often tailored to provide significance to the place and time they’re told in. The ideas and ambiguity surrounding these myths create intrigue; therefore its no surprise that the horror genre has incorporated and developed them to ramp up the scare factor. The strange occurrences associated with certain films are equally as interesting in a sinister way, for example capturing a ghost on film! However many of these stories have been dismissed. I hope you enjoy this review as I delve into some bizarre and twisted stories. So, keep away from chanting into mirrors and don’t go into the woods to make out with your other half! Here are the Urban Legends that have impacted on me.

Firstly, using Snopes.com and ScaryForKids.com as  key sources I will discuss some of the more famous legends that have influenced the films I’m going to talk about.

Bloody Mary

Allegedly if you repeat her name thirteen times into the mirror, she will be unleashed and scratch your eyes out. She goes by other names including Hell Mary, Mar-Lou, and Mary Worthington. She is not to be confused with the Monarch, Mary, Queen of England who also had the nickname. The legend is commonly used among young girls at sleepovers as dares. For more information I highly recommend visiting: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/bloodymary.asp

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Hook Man

A young couple are making out in a car, a report emerges on the radio about a killer on the loose. They hear a noise and one of them gets out of the car to investigate (usually the boyfriend!). The girl waits alone and suddenly hears a scratching sound or a dripping noise. Her boyfriend is hung from a tree with his feet scratching the top of the car and blood dripping onto it. A bloody hook is then seen on the passenger side! This legend has been around since the 1950’s. Its a fable warning teenagers against sex and has clearly been an inspiration to many slasher films such as the Friday 13th franchise. Source: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/hook.asp

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The Doll

“I’m on the first step…”

As a child I hated dolls, there was always something unnerving about them. Didn’t help that family members bought me a baby doll and some china ones…*shudders*. This legend escalated my fear of dolls, however I have heard the same tale where the doll is replaced by a baby, which is equally as creepy. A young girl reluctantly receives a doll as a birthday present. There is something uneasy about it but her mother ignores her protests! One night as the girl goes to sleep, she hears a voice “Lucy, I’m on the first step…” and well you can read the rest of it here: http://www.scaryforkids.com/antique-doll/. The X Files featured an episode abour an evil doll in its fifth season. Chinga written by horror master Stephen King had the doll murder and attempt to murder the girl’s parents. More famously The Twilight Zone had Talky Tina in the episode Living Doll which the The X Files episode clearly took influence from.

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Candyman (1992) and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

Candyman…Candyman…Candyman…Candyman *I better stop there!*

Candyman is an acclaimed horror film that brought Clive Barker’s short story The Forbidden to life. The concept is based on the well-known Bloody Mary legend which will be looked at later on. Its perfectly paced and keeps up the tension throughout. Cleverly, Candyman (Tony Todd) doesn’t appear a great deal during the film, leaving the focus on the notion of myth and the idea that if you believe something enough it can consume you! Helen (Virginia Marsden), a graduate student is conducting a thesis on the subject of urban legends. Along with a friend she begins to research the local tale which eventually takes a dark turn as she encounters the Candyman! As well as being a suspenseful horror film, Candyman brought in something different to the genre through its commentary on Urban, African-American society, poverty and racism. As well as taking influence from Bloody Mary, Candyman has a hook for a hand to slash his victims, similar to the classic hook man legend which has been portrayed on screen numerous times.  The film concludes with Helen’s death at the hands of Candyman, leading her to become a vengeful spirit in the same vein, it demonstrates how legends can evolve over periods of time and become modified, basing one legend on another.

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The sequel Farewell to the Flesh further explores Candyman’s backstory. Set in New Orleans, a young woman named Annie (Kelly Rowan) becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding the legend. More is uncovered about the character, developing what was set up in the first film. Candyman’s real name was Daniel Robitaille who was tortured by a lynch mob for falling in love with a young white woman. Daniel’s hand was cut off accounting for the hook and he was also stung by a swarm of bees. He was an accomplished artist, which explains the links between the art work seen in both films, and illustrates how he was a creative person. The only issue with revealing this information complicates the urban legend as it removes the mystery and humanizes the character, similarly to how Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005) turned the title character into a tragic prom Queen and demanded empathy from the audience, that film was however less good.

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Urban Legend (1998) and Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

In the same vein Scream critiqued the codes and conventions of the slasher film, the Urban Legend trilogy used the teenage, self-awareness approach as a commentary for folklore. The films featured a hooded killer murdering victims in inventive ways, replicating urban legends and portraying several of them. Its worth noting that the other Scream-esque teen slasher of the 90’s era I Know What you did Last Summer” also based its narrative on myth, featuring a scene of the core group discussing the hook man tale and them disagreeing on which was the legitimate version. Staying true to the notion of urban legends, the characters are stalked by the menacing Ben Willis, a man they accidentally run over and then dump the body, the film modernized the hook man concept to fit into the 90’s teen slasher sub-genre.

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The Urban Legend films used the fables in the same vein and included Bloody Mary. They however contradicted themselves by the third film as the first had two female characters, Natalie (Alicia Witt) and Brenda (Rebecca Gayheart) saying her name in the mirror three times and nothing happening apart from a fun jump scare for the audience, suggesting the legend is untrue. Others that featured include the kidney heist, the licked hand, the hitchhiker, the dog in the microwave and the dead lover hanging from a tree. Urban Legend also played with stories that have emerged from the media, such as eating pop rocks and drinking a carbonated soft drink which allegedly killed the actor who played Little Mikey in the Life Cereal commercials from the 70’s! The rumor is dispelled as Joshua Jackson’s character plays a prank on his course mates by testing the legend out for real and Robert Englund (AKA. Freddy Kruger) plays the lecturer! These films blur the lines a lot between pop culture and folklore as well as incorporating actor allusions. If you enjoy slasher films, they are fun and entertaining.

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Urban Legends within Television

The premise of children’s show Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990-1996) was centered on a group of pre-teens called The Midnight Society. They would recite scary stories to each other while sat around a camp fire, a classic trope for urban legends. Even though aimed at young people, the show incorporated a very eerie tone but was the perfect introduction to horror for kids. Each episode included the title “The Tale Of….” for example The Tale of the Twisted Claw, emphasizing its folklore angle. The kids used the stories as fables and warnings, promoting good behavior. The show allows kids imaginations to run wild however implies that they are only stories!

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Much of Season One of Supernatural (2005-present) based its episodes on urban legends when the show was first establishing itself. The pilot featured The Woman in White, a spirit who would target unfaithful men at the side of the highway. Many female victims within the show, often wear white night gowns before meeting their demise, using the legend as a sort of symbol and suggests the character is more of a victim than actual evil. Bloody Mary and Hook Man also made appearances to maim unsuspecting victims. Supernatural played the legends as if they existed in the real world having Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) saving the day through vanquishing the malevolent spirits! One of the best horror television shows out there, Supernatural went all out on the horror and gore when adapting the legends.

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Urban legends told by a friend of a friend of a friend and so on remain interesting to this day. This is because they provide a good scare and give you chills. But the most fascinating aspect is deciphering what could be real and what isn’t within the legends and witnessing elements of them change as time goes on.

COMING NEXT: Part Two: Movie Mayhem: The Shocks Behind The Scenes

Hayley Alice Roberts

Mainstream Horror Missing the Mark: A Review of Mama (2013)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**INCLUDES SOME SPOILERS**

Mama (2013) is one of the mainstream offerings from the horror genre this year. Commercially it has done very well at the box office, however it does not give the genre any confidence of improvement and is an example of how decent and well executed horror films are hard to come by these days. Actual brilliant horror is normally found amidst the line-ups in the festival circuit.

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Mama was initially a Spanish, 3 minute short  made in 2008 by the same director Andrés Muschietti. It impressed acclaimed dark, fantasy horror director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth (2004) who went onto produce this feature, but not even his name could save this film from the boring mess it turned out to be. Mama’s premise does hold intrigue however the film remains dull in tone and drawn out from beginning till the end. Mama centers on a young couple Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Annabel (Jessica Chastain) who are faced with the prospect of caring for their feral nieces, who have been brought up in the wild for the past five years. Their father, Lucas’s brother murdered their birth mother and two of his business partners during the 2008 financial crisis. He takes his two daughters Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) to an abandoned cabin in the woods (generic horror convention, check!) and attempts suicide. Not to the surprise of the audience he is subsequently killed by a mysterious figure we come to know cryptically as “Mama”.

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The opening was irritating, following the sequence described above, we are then subjected to long, drawn out opening credits which proved distracting prior to meeting the film’s adult protagonists. So much could have been developed from this kind of narrative, it would have been far more interesting to see the young girls adapt to Western society, regain a sense of normalcy and see the characters develop a strong bond as a family unit. But that’s the problem with Mama it doesn’t really work as a Horror film. From a dramatic custody battle at the beginning as well as intriguing therapy sessions it didn’t seem to have room for the supernatural aspect it eventually delivered. The dullness was heightened by the bleakness of the film, with grey filters present throughout as well as the slow pace and repetitive moments.

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Certain scenes did ramp up the tension and could have been genuinely scary, but as I said above, these sequences were repeated too often and failed to add anything new to the plot. There was too much focus on a CGI Mama , which was a poorly animated and became more laughable and silly rather than terrifying. The noise was clearly borrowed from Ju On: The Grudge (2002),  and Mama’s appearance was similar to how possessed females are constructed in exorcism style films. Not seeing Mama at all would have been far scarier, the use of shadows and POV shots would have created an intense atmosphere while keeping up the intrigue rather than being so blatant and shoving this silly looking excuse for a ghost in our faces, partnered with hammy performances from the cast! There is only so much crying and screaming I can take.

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I guess this film was trying too hard but failed to deliver and didn’t seem to know what it wanted to say. The character relationships felt empty and under-developed, it was difficult to gain a sense of empathy with them or feel their struggle. Overall, it was very predictable from the convoluted back story of Mama to the over-the-top, prolonged ending, it was also pretty evident which one-dimensional characters would be killed off. Tedious to watch with an unsatisfying outcome. Genre fans know that better horrors than this can be made, Sinister (2012) being a key example of mainstream horror done well. I hate to be so cynical, but this is not a film I will be re-visiting!

Hayley Alice Roberts.