One day, some dude flips out and kills his co-workers and his wife.  He takes his 2 little girls on a suicide drive on a snowy day, drives off the road, crashes, and takes them to an abandoned cabin he finds in the woods.  He pulls out a revolver and is about to do in the oldest daughter, when a shadowy figure grabs the dude and kills him.

Fast forward five years later.  The girls — now 8 and 6, and feral — are found living like animals in the same cabin their father took them to.   After a much needed adjustment to the civilized world, the girls are given to their uncle and his girlfriend, played by Jessica Chastain.  The uncle is happy as a redneck with a noose, all ready to be a father to his nieces, even though the kids are seriously messed up in the head.  Chastain, at least, is more sensible, saying she’s not ready to play mom, especially to girls with severe, emotional problems.  But…she loves her boyfriend, so she sticks it out; and she will soon find herself facing up against a terrifying ghost that the girls call “Mama.”

Let me just say that I will probably never encounter scary moments like these because I’m too practical.  I would’ve left.  I would’ve left the kids — and for those of you who have been reading my posts for a while now, you know I don’t like kids, so it’s no big deal for me to walk away from kids who have an attachment to a scary spook — I would’ve left the house, I would’ve left everything.  At the first sighting of something spooky, I would have ran screaming like a little boy who just got felt up by a priest.

Not Chastain, though.  Of course, she doesn’t believe that Mama really exists, thinking Mama is just a figment of the girls’ imagination.  But as the days and weeks go by, she realizes that Mama does exist, and she’s very powerful and jealous and frightening…and Mama wants her little girls back.

I watched the first third of this movie at night, by myself, and it scared me.  The other 2/3 of the movie I watched by myself during the daytime, and it still scared me.  Sure, some of the scares are cheap: using loud noises when Mama suddenly comes rushing at the screen to shock the audience.  But most of the scares are genuinely creepy.   One example is one of my most memorable, movie moments of “Mama.”  It’s the scene when the crazy father takes shelter in the cabin with his little girls, and the oldest daughter tells her father that there’s a woman outside, and she’s not touching the floor.  Wow!  That creeped me the hell out!  We don’t see the ghost — we simply see the little girl looking out and talking about her.  Moments like these that are very simple, yet highly terrifying are brilliant.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Mama,” however, is the scene when the youngest girl is seen playing tug of war with a blanket with someone who we assume is her oldest sister.  We see the game through a partly open bedroom door, and then we see the oldest daughter walking out into the hallway while the youngest girl is still playing tug of war with someone who is clearly lifting the blanket up into the ceiling!  Holy s#*t!  This scene was created with the camera being still, and no music or sudden, loud noises to shock you.  Another, genuine scare told in a masterful way.

“Mama” isn’t one of the best horror movies ever made, but it is very good, and I highly recommend it to any horror movie fan.  It’ll give you more than your share of frights and chills.

It’s too bad the girls in this movie were not raised by a mama like my mom.  My mom’s the best person I know.  She’s almost a saint putting up with my nonsense, past and present.   I must have done something wonderful in a past life to have her in my current life.  I haven’t done enough to be worthy of her, but I do try.