Mama

Happy Mother's Day! In honor of the day we honor mothers everywhere, today we take a look at a Guillermo Del Toro-produced film about two girls who are torn between two mothers - and one is not exactly human.

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Mama (2013)

Episode 295, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd

Craig: and I’m Craig.

Todd: Well, we have a special episode for you on a special day. Once again, it is mother’s day. I would say happy mother’s day, Craig, but you’re not a mother.

Craig: I’m a bad mother…

Todd: Shut yo mouth! Well, we do want to say at least I want to say happy mother’s day to the important and wonderful mothers in my life, the mother of my son, uh, and, uh, my own mom, of course, who went through quite a bit to raise me. We just love spending this time today, paying tribute to our mothers by showing, um, motherly figures in horror films.

I think last year, was it last year, maybe two years ago, we actually did mother’s day, right? There was a notorious and cheap, uh, trauma produced film, but it didn’t turn out too bad. This is a modern film from 2013 and it is called Mama produced by Gail Guillermo Del Toro, um, and directed by a guy named Andy mushi Yeti from a three minute short.

Uh, that he did that got the attention of Guillermo Del Toro and said, Hey, why don’t, why don’t I help you expand this into a larger movie, which he did. And this is what we have mama. I, uh, suggested this PG 13 film today, simply because I was looking at lists of potential films for mother’s day and this one came up.

But otherwise I had never seen it before. And I actually hadn’t heard it before. How about you Craig? Oh, 

Craig: Yeah, I’ve seen it. In fact, I, when you recommended it, I told you that I had just rewatched it a couple of weeks ago randomly because I, again, as always, well, no, I was just, uh, going through streaming services, looking for something to watch.

And I was looking at HBO max and, uh, it was. Man 

Todd: you have all the streaming services. I do. I, 

Craig: I, I’m going to be in debtors prison and I’m sure 

Todd: time you to death. Right. It’s only five bucks here. Only six bucks. They spend a hundred bucks. Like why did I cut cable? 

Craig: Yeah, I know. Like I CA I can, I can afford $5 a month.

That’s less than one meal at McDonald’s, but then yeah, like now I’ve got like 15 streaming service anyway, whatever. So I had recently rewatched it, but, um, I was glad to watch it again. I’ve actually, uh, been familiar with this for a long time, because I was familiar with the original, short I I’ve told you before.

And, and our listeners before that, every October I do a horror unit with my, um, senior class. And, uh, I w you know, we read stuff obviously, cause it’s a literature class. The I take one day when I show them shorts online, and this is one of the ones that I show them. And it’s good. It’s, it’s creepy. It’s atmospheric.

It’s recreated almost exactly in this movie, but it is very, very brief. Um, and there’s no context. It’s just a creepy little, you know, minute and a half or three minute stand-alone thing. Um, but, but it’s atmospheric, it’s atmospheric and it’s, it’s, it’s creepy. And, and then they made a whole movie out of it.

And it’s this one and that’s what we’re solving.

Todd: I should’ve had you do the intro.

Craig: I’m very eloquent.

Todd: The movie kicks off pretty, pretty, simply enough. There is a actually I think the whole movie is very stylistic. It’s shot really well. It has very good color dynamics in it. Um, there’s a kind of a bleak scene where we just see a card with its door open. I’m sitting by the side of a house and, uh, we hear over the radio.

It sounds like there’s been a shooting and somebody has left the scene of the shooting and someone is missing. Um, and pretty soon we see two girls in a. Uh, one is Victoria and one is Lily and they are three and one year old respectively, uh, and horrible. 

Craig: Very adorable. Did you, this is the first time. So I listened, I watched this with headphones this time around.

Did you hear what was going on on the radio? Yeah, I did. 

Todd: I mean, most of it. Yeah. It was a, they were talking about the shooting, right? 

Craig: Yeah. I think this is the first time that I’d ever paid attention to that, but it’s important. 

Todd: It is. Yeah. Well, it’s definitely sets the context for the scene. The father of these two girls, uh, whose name is Jeff, I believe comes stumbling in and upstairs and says, girls, we gotta go.

We gotta go. And he just grabs them and leaves and they ask where’s mommy, where’s mommy. And they say, well, mommy’s not, not here. And we had 

Craig: already heard a gunshot yeah. W what, what we heard on the radio was that there had been some kind of market crash or something, and, uh, some stockbroker or partner in some from, or something.

Gone nuts and had killed a couple of people in his office. And then as all this progresses, as we’re watching it, the dad has the radio on and you, it it’s it’s him. And, and what’s happened is that he has apparently due to S yeah. Due to some failure with his business or whatever, he’s lost his mind. He’s killed his partners.

He, and, and apparently he’s killed his wife and now he’s driving his girls out. 

Todd: It’s weird. Right? It’s an odd choice. Like he doesn’t just come home and shoot the girls and go, he comes home, shoots his wife and then grabs the girls, puts them in a car and takes off down the road. 

Craig: Yeah. Down this snowy road.

And it’s really, you know, it’s treacherous and he’s driving too fast and the little girls are in the back and the old, the younger one is only one. She can’t even talk. The older one is three. And, uh, she’s, I just, this is the first time that I was watching this closely. Like, I’ve seen it more than once, but this was the first time I was watching it closely and just paying closer attention to it.

Made the tension. Much higher because these little girls are scared and, and, and the older one is like, daddy, you’re driving too fast. And she says it a couple of times. And at one point her dad turns around and yells at her shut in. Yeah. I mean, very, very angry. And, and then he loses control of the car and they crash and they’re walking through the woods and they ended up finding, you know, this abandoned cabin in the woods and what really struck me, like he’s clearly lost his mind.

And, uh, it seems like he’s kind of tortured about what his next step is going to be, but it becomes apparent that he’s planning. He’s going to kill these girls and I assume himself, but, but what really kind of broke my heart about it this time. What made it so sad? And ultimately like watching this movie this time, I looked at it kind of as more than just a horror movie.

It’s really, it’s, it’s kind of, it’s tragic. Like there there’s, there there’s so much tragic. And, and sadness in this movie that I really hadn’t paid attention to before. And what really kind of got to me this time, the tragedy in this moment is these little girls love their dad and trust their dad, the older one who can speak, keeps calling.

You know, every time she talks to him, it’s always something, something, daddy, daddy, daddy. Well, you know, like that that’s, that’s messed up. They, they, they love him. They trust him. They have absolutely no idea what’s going on. They’re terrified, but they trust 

Todd: their dad. Yeah. And you know, it’s, um, I’ve said it before, but I do tend to see movies so slightly differently.

Or at least they hit me emotionally a little differently since I have a five-year-old and I think it’s simply because I. Here questions, very innocent, but very important questions from him all the time. You know, he doesn’t understand life yet. He doesn’t understand relationships and things like that yet.

So, you know, for example, when we had the COVID situation going on and we were separated, you know, for nine months it was, um, he was asking a lot of questions. Oh, you know, why can’t daddy be here? Why can’t we just go to China? And, you know, he could accept the answers, but it, it’s interesting to hear how his mind is working and what answers he needs, you know, and what questions he has and how he perceives things.

And I mean, so I, I think in a situation like this, I, I was just really breaking for those kids, um, being whisked away by their dad, uh, in the car, really not knowing what’s going on. But, you know, they’re appropriately, like not freaking out, right. Older kids would freak out. Right? Younger kids are just confused, but they’re used to being confused.

Cause life is confusing for them. So they just kind of go along with it, which is also really sad. And I did not see. Coming that the fact that he was going to kill them. I, I mean, I thought the, the re the whole reason he didn’t shoot them right there in the house, like he did his wife is cause he had some plan with them.

And I think maybe he originally did, but maybe he was thinking twice about 

Craig: it. Yeah. I don’t, I don’t think he had a plan, but I don’t think that he, I think he was irrational, but I don’t think that he had planned to kill them. I think it was a dis an impetuous decision made in a desperate moment. I 

Todd: think you’re right.

And I mean, he certainly didn’t plan to go to the cabin. Well, you know, there, there crashed was an accident by the side of the road and stumbled into this place. And then it’s just a awful scene where he is. You see, what’s probably gonna happen. She’s he’s got the gun in his hand. She’s like, what is that daddy?

And he just puts his hand on her face and he’s kind of crying. And he turns her around and says, The girls have been saying, by the way that there’s a woman outside and we have seen like some movement, that’s a little spooky. And then she turns around and looks outside and he raises the gun. Like he’s going to shoot her.

And before he can, these supernatural arms come out of the sky, behind him, the ceiling, grab him and pull him away. And the girl turns around and sees this happen. 

Craig: But he had told her to take off her glasses. She wears glasses and he had told her to take them off because I don’t think that he wanted her to see anything after she took off her glasses.

That’s when he pulled out the gun and she said, daddy, what is that? And he said, don’t worry about it or something like that. I think that he didn’t want her to see, but I also, I also think that that this is important because when she turns around this ghostly. This movie doesn’t hide anything that it is it’s a ghost movie or, or some sort of supernatural entity.

I mean, we find out it’s a ghost, but some sort of supernatural entity and we see it, you know, right there in the very beginning. It it’s this woman, ghostly earth tones, CGI, the CGI is not bad. It’s fine. I mean, it’s obviously CGI, but it’s fine. Grabs him, lifts him up, breaks his neck. And she sees all of this, but she sees it out of focus and for the rest of the movie, which, you know, obviously time passes, we jumped to five years later and time passes, but we come back to these girls, anytime that mama, the ghost is around the girl takes off her glasses.

I don’t know if it’s because I don’t know if it’s because of. That’s how mama is familiar to her. Like she had only ever seen her in soft focus before, but at another point late in the movie, the, the girl is wearing her glasses and mama takes them off of her. It’s a 

Todd: moment. Yeah. 

Craig: Yeah. I mean, it’s almost like either mama doesn’t want her to see, I don’t know, but I just felt like that.

I think it’s important as the relationship between the two of them, the fact that she only ever sees her in blur in soft focus. I think that’s kind of important because it’s almost like a metaphor, like when, when she comes back to civilization and she gets glasses again and she can physically see clearly, then she can kind of see things more clearly.

Um, That’s important as far as their relationship is concerned. 

Todd: And it sets up a contrast between her and her younger sister, um, which is also important to the movie and also a really poignant, a nice touch. You know, these could have been twins, they could have been about the same age, but because this girl was so young, um, they basically ended up staying in this cabin for like five, five years.

And, and there’s a little scene where they’re sitting by the fire and a little cherry rolls towards them that they pick up an eat that you know, is obviously been delivered by the supernatural entity. And then five years later, uh, after a credit sequence of kids’ drawings, we are, which, which 

Craig: I thought was just fantastic because it tells their story.

Then the children’s drawings fill in the gap of what’s happened in these five years in the stick figure, basically drawings. You can see that sometimes. The girls were scared, but sometimes they were happy, um, and, and playing and doing things. And, you know, there’s this mama figure in, in some of the illustrations.

Um, and there are, you know, there’s, there’s one illustration where the girls are scared and they’re being like menaced by wild dogs or something. But then the next picture shows the dogs all bloody and dead and they’re happy, you know? So this, this spirit or whatever it is, has been protecting them, caring for them at least enough to keep a three-year-old and a one-year-old a lie.

For five years. I mean, 

Todd: that’s, that’s, 

Craig: that’s a big deal 

Todd: and abandoned cabin out in the middle of the woods, which to be fair, uh, seems to be so easy to find. I can’t believe nobody’s found this book. 

Craig: I know, I know. 

Todd: Anyway, that’s one of the, one of the, one of the groaners I think, I mean, I, I really had to suspend my disbelief for a few things.

There’s a few pothole plot plot holes 

Craig: in it, but I guess, you know, in theory they had no idea where the dead took them in, in 

theory. 

Todd: Yeah. Like nobody tracked the car or anything like that. Right. 

Craig: But then it does, it cuts to five years later and we find out that, uh, the dad’s twin brother Lucas has been continuing to fund a search for.

Girls and his brother, I guess, you know, cause they just disappeared. Nobody knows what happened to them. Five years later, he’s still paying people to look around. Um, and we just happened to come back to them when these guys that he’s paying, you know, these, I don’t know, woodsy guys, 

Todd: Bursey 

Craig: they first find the car, which again, right.

Like you have to suspend your disbelief, like wherever this is it, how far could it have gone off the road that somebody wouldn’t have found it in five years, but it’s whatever they first find the car. Um, and then they find the cabin. And I really like this scene because they go in there. Of course it’s all dark and they’re looking around, but you see the girls moving around in the shadows before, you know, the characters see them and they’re feral.

And I thought that this. Played really well. And I don’t know how much of it was done with CGI or how much of it was done with the, the child actors, but they, they move around like animals and on all fours, it is 

Todd: very spooky. They’re super skinny, 

Craig: super skinny, and very fast and agile and dirty Harry hissing and, and Groundling, and, you know, I don’t know how realistic it is, but it looked, you know, like it’s, it’s spooky.

And, and just that idea of feral children is kind of a. A spooky thing, but of course they get them and they bring them back and they notify the uncle Lucas, who has a girlfriend named Anabel. Yeah. Yeah. And 

Todd: Annabel were introduced to her, sitting on the toilet, checking out her pregnancy test and really very happy that she’s not pregnant.

And I thought, okay. Oh absolutely. 

Craig: A hundred percent. You seem 

Todd: really setting this up, right? It’s a bit on the nose. Thank you God.

Craig: Hey, gosh. I’m not pregnant. What is wrong with you

had a problem with the bank or the money’s gone. I picked B is the correct answer.

It’s your brother. You want to spend all your money? Kind of find them. It’s okay with me. It’s cheaper than therapy. And I saw my and Annabel is kind of, you know, like a rocker girl, like she’s in a band, she’s in a rock band. She’s got tattoos up and down her arms and jet black hair. And she’s played by Jessica Chasteen.

Is one of the only actors that I recognize. So I apologize if there are other famous actors in this movie that you like that I don’t talk about. Cause she’s, she’s one of the only ones that I recognize, and she was the first and only choice for this role. She’s good. Jessica Chasteen is a good actress and this is, you know, it’s just a different role than I’ve ever seen her in, but every role I’ve seen her in she’s been different.

She’s versatile. Um, she ended up working with Andrew machete again, um, on the it remake. Um, she was in it chapter one in chapter two, as the older Beverly Marsh, she got a lot of acclaim for playing Tammy Faye Bakker in the eyes of Tammy Faye, which I’ve started watching. Uh, and, and she is. Good. And that, I, I just think that zero 

Todd: dark 30 came out though the year behind this, she was an interstellar the, the next year, uh, yeah, Crimson peak.

Oh, 

Craig: remember? Yes. Uh huh. Oh yeah. And she was good in that. She’s, she’s a very talented actress and she’s good in this movie and she plays, I like it when actors can play a character who. On paper is unlikable, but you like them anyway, you know, like on, at least in the beginning. And I would say that she has character, she certainly has an arc.

She has character development, but on paper, you know, in the beginning, she is thrilled to find out she is not pregnant. And she is not really interested in being a mother or having a family at all. And this is thrust upon her. And she even, she even has a conversation with the female lead singer of her band saying, you know, I didn’t even want a family.

I certainly didn’t want to set up family. And she’s like, and I didn’t even get to come up. Like they came to me that way.

Todd: It’s pretty hilarious. 

Craig: And her and her friend is like, well, leave him. And she’s like, I can’t do that. Right. I can’t do that to him. Like, apparently she loves him so much and knows how important this is to him that like it or not, she’s in it. And she’s going to do it. 

Todd: It’s important. Right? I mean, it shows that she’s not just kind of.

Self-centered asshole only out for herself. That’s why she doesn’t want to be a mom. Cause she doesn’t want to have to have any responsibility or, you know, whatever. Like I’m not saying that’s the reason you don’t become a mom. You know what I mean? But I’m just saying sure. It provides the balance right where, oh, okay.

Yeah. She’s super happy. She doesn’t have, she doesn’t, she doesn’t have kids. She doesn’t want these kids. She has the opportunity to go, but she’s a nice gal. Uh, and so obviously they’re setting this up to put her in the mother role, which she ends up doing. I was just gonna mention by the way, because it means nothing to me, but uh, the Nicole lodge cost or Waldo who played Lucas in this, I’ve never watched game of Thrones, but he used Jamie Lannister in game of Thrones.

So that probably means something to the rest of the percent of the rest of the universe. That’s seen game of Thrones and not me 

Craig: and, and, and he’s handsome and charming. And uh, you know, I. There was nobody in this movie who I thought was subpar in terms of acting. I thought that the acting was the acting was great.

Yeah, it was great. And even these little girls now who have grown up, they end up in the hands of this psychologist, I guess, um, named Dreyfus, I guess he’s in charge of their case or whatever tells Lucas and Annabel that the older girl, Victoria has managed to retain some language. And, and they really think that G with just a little bit of help, she’ll be able to get everything back.

The other little girl, Lily was only one year old when she went out there. So she has very little language or social skills. I mean, I mean, she is quite literally Pharell and throughout really the most of the movie, like she’s capable of. Walking on two feet, but she seems to prefer when she’s comfortable, she walks on all fours and.

Capable of language, but she doesn’t say very much. And I, I just read this morning that this young actress didn’t speak English, 

Todd: it worked out with it, 

Craig: did it, does it works out perfectly for the role, but it’s, it’s good. It’s effective. I actually think that works really well because as it turns out, we already know this, but the characters come to find out very slowly over the course of the film that they were raised by this ghost lady and the one-year-old, that’s all she’s ever known ever.

And so she clings to it far more fiercely than her sister does. And that that’s ultimately important to. 

Todd: Yeah. And that’s the contrast, you know, I was talking about that, like you said, is very important. And I also think it’s a very poignant moment in there where Lucas is approaching her inside this.

Facility now also, I guess this is just a movie thing, right. But my mom used to work at a psychiatric facility. I don’t remember them having a room that was dressed up like a bedroom with a two way mirror, so they could just throw kids in there and see how they’re going to act. But anyway, they’re in there.

Right. And they’re T he’s talking to the doctor is talking about the differences between the two girls and Lucas comes in. And of course, Lily is running away from him. And also, uh, Victoria is, seems hesitant, but he gives her, her glasses. He’s got like another pair of her glasses and he puts them on her and she sees him for the first time and she goes, daddy, and I just wanted to cry.

She broke my heart, my heart. And he’s like, I’m sorry, I’m not your dad. I’m your, I’m your uncle Lucas. Remember? And she just hugs him. Um, 

Craig: and keep it keeps saying daddy, like, 

Todd: and she’s old enough, right. To have the memory of her actual mother to have the memory of her real dad. And this guy says, twin, you know, he looks just like him and she’s 

Craig: touching his face.

Like, Ugh. You know, and these, these girls have not had any human contact through all of their formative years up to this point. And I just, it just felt so. Natural. Like, I just believed that, you know, when this girl walks up to this man and, and recognizes him as, as she probably would, you know, uh, it’s her dad’s twin brother.

They’re not played by the same actor. They’re not identical twins, but brothers nonetheless, and she just reaches out and strokes his face and it’s almost like sense memory and. And it comforts her and she embraces them. Oh, oh man. Well 

Todd: the doctor Gerald, when the, I don’t know, we see a court scene. I think it’s like 90 days later, your honor, 

Craig: Victoria and Lily dishonors were found in deplorable conditions, isolated, starved, they feared and distrusted all physical contact.

Their emotional growth was clearly compromised by their abandonment in order to survive such extreme isolation. The girls created an imaginary guardian, a parent figure to feed them, sing to them, protect them. They called 

Todd: her mama at the same time. And they’re talking about custody of the girls in front of the judge.

And there’s this woman, uh, who just kind of comes out of nowhere and. I think this character was at all important to the story. And then she could have been completely cut out. She comes from nowhere. You barely see her. And then she does nothing really important in the whole movie, but create this for a moment.

This bit of drama, where it’s the aunt, it’s the moms, the dead mom’s sister who wants, 

Craig: I think actually it’s the dead mothers aunt. It would be the girls. Yeah, I think so. She wants the girls and maybe she is the mom’s sister. I don’t know. I thought it was the mom’s aunt, but whatever, it doesn’t matter. I understand why she would want them.

And she argues in court that she would be more fit to keep them because Lucas just lives in a small apartment and 

Todd: he’s an artist, you know, he’s poor 

Craig: and his, and his girlfriend’s just in a band and blah, you know, whatever. And the, the psychologist Dreyfus. Is frankly corrupt. Like they don’t really treat him as a villain, but they could have, because he’s, he’s corrupt.

He tells. Lucas and Anabel the truth of the matter is she probably would be better off with Jean, but I want to study them. I want to study them. It’s 

Todd: like alien. He was in aliens, by the way. 

Craig: I didn’t know that, but he basically, what he says is it’s, it’s really up to me. Like whatever recommendation I make, the judge is going to go with.

And he’s like, I would lean towards her. However, I don’t want them going across the country either. So if you will agree to live in this nice suburban home owned by the university for the purpose of case studies, 

Todd: that’s about as realistic as this, this university must have a hell of a lot of, 

Craig: if you’ll agree to live that live.

And give me access to the girls. Then I will recommend you for custody and, and Anabel is, is torn. She doesn’t want to go live in suburbia and be a soccer mom, but she knows it’s important to Lucas. And so they agree to do it. 

Todd: Yeah. You know, at this point I have to say, um, the movie is very stylized in the way it does color.

Whenever Lucas is around the girls and just around period, you get this very warm yellows, CEPI atoned, uh, image, image of the. Whenever Annabel is around, starting from when we see her rehearsing in this little, you know, rehearsal room or whatever, with a fluorescent light or whatever. Th no matter where she is, whether she’s in the house, whether she’s outside, it’s green, it’s like puke green, like ugly, fluorescent lighting type thing.

It’s sort of like the teal and orange, except it’s, it’s like. Gross green and orange. And I thought that was a really interesting, um, motif that they had going through the movie. So even when they get to the house and Annabel has her moments where she’s alone with the girls, but she’s not comfortable with them, you know, she’s not sure what to do with them.

She does what she can, but she’s just kind of like, whatever, you know, she’s got to go through the motions. It’s like washing the dishes or doing the laundry. 

Craig: And I give, I give the character. I mean, Said Jessica testing, great actress. I give the character props because she really tried and like, and they, they really make a point of pretty much every time you see her in the house, she’s doing something incredibly domestic.

Like she’s always doing laundry or doing the dishes or cleaning. Always, and it’s always that 

Todd: green wash over 

Craig: it, by the way. And it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel heavy handed it, it kind of feels realistic. I mean, that’s what, especially since, you know, there there’s a scene where Dreyfus hypnotizes, Victoria, which is, you know, it’s just kind of stuck in, but it is important.

She gives the exposition, she tells mama’s story. That’s a long time ago, a lady ran away from a hospital or savvy. She stuck a baby.

How could you know that story? Victoria took 

mama 

Todd: tell you that story.

Craig: They all move in together in the house. I mean, it’s, it’s a beautiful house. If you want to, you know, live in suburbia and there’s a lot that goes on and we can come back to it. I was, I was trying to get caught up, but, but the, the point is eventually Lucas has taken out of the picture. Um, the, the girls get the girls, you know, get back to the house then, you know, we see strange things start going on.

Like the electricity is flickering. Lily is creeping around the house weirdly on all fours. Um, there are weird like mold or mildew spots on the walls that like these mods are coming out of and stuff. Um, and uh, at one point, uh, Annabel hears something in the night and she sends Lucas out to investigate it.

And he sees one of the. Spots on the wall and he sees a moth come out of it, but then mama busts out of it and pushes him over. Yeah. And pushes them over the banister on the second level. And so he falls down the stairs and his unconscious, I kind of thought so too. I almost feel like that would have been to mean it would have been a shocker.

Well, and I think that logistically it wouldn’t have made sense because if he had died, they would have taken the girls from her. The girls would have gone to a relative, but he’s not doing. Um, but he is in a coma and I just, I appreciate the reality of the character because Annabel is like, well, she talks to the psychologist and she’s like, well, what do we do now?

And he’s like, what do you mean? She’s like about the girls? And he’s like, well, you have to keep them. If you don’t keep them, then Jean will get them. And even when Lucas comes out of the coma, he’ll never get them back. And she says, that’s not fair. This isn’t my job. And she’s right. It’s not, it’s not her job.

It’s not her responsibility, but apparently. She loves Lucas enough that she is willing to make that sacrifice. And it certainly is a sacrifice. I mean, it would be a sacrifice to care for anybody else’s children. 

Todd: It’s a sacrifice, caring for your own children. Right. 

Craig: But these kids have issues. Um, but she has to take it on and she does.

And. She tries. It is hard and you can see the frustration in her. It is it’s terribly frustrating, but she does 

Todd: it. I think it’s important to point out and this, you know, the movie could have gone this way and I’m really glad that it didn’t, it really stayed true to her character and her motivations.

She’s not trying to like bond with the girls, you know, not really not trying to have these moments where she’s trying to get closer with them to make her life easier. She’s really just trying to get things done and trying to keep, to keep them alive from one day to the next, uh, I appreciated that the movie didn’t get sappy and weird like that because you know, of course her character arc, it was set up from the beginning.

She doesn’t want to be a mom. She doesn’t, you know, all this. And of course, by the end of it, boiler alert, you know, she suddenly has these motherly instincts that awakened in her or whatever, at least towards these girls, she feels a bond with them now. And it’s a natural evolution, but it could have been so much savvier and it absolutely was not.

And so I really appreciated that about the movie. The characters seemed, they felt very real. Their motivations felt pretty real except for the one note and, you know, pops in and out and just induced the whole time and the kind of evil doctor. It wasn’t that evil. He just 

Craig: he’s ambitious he’s device. 

Todd: He’s applied device to advance our understanding of what’s going on.

He hires this woman or it’s, I don’t know, it gets this woman who either works at the university or something like that, uh, to investigate the story that the girls tell about the woman who jumped this woman comes in and basically says, well, you know, investigate all the asylums and things like that. And I haven’t found anything, but there’s this one that closed in like 1868 that, uh, there was this patient named Edith Brennan, and you should look at her story in her files.

And so that’s where we see. And you know, this happens pretty early in the movie. Like you said just the way that we there’s no question at the beginning that this is supernatural and that there’s a ghost. We see the ghost full on pretty early, pretty, I mean, we’re not even a third of the way through the movie and this whole investigation bit is pretty much done for us.

Like there are just some very minor details that we don’t know, but, uh, if you’ve ever seen a ghost story, you know, you know what this is all about, right? It’s this ghost who was taking care of the girls, but she’s restless spirit for some reason. And there’s something that has to be done in order to set her soul at ease.

And she’s got her own motive. And, and to be honest with you, like, just to jump the gun a little bit on why I thought this movie was just kind of as is, it was just so formulaic like that. 

Craig: Yeah, 

Todd: that’s true. And not only was it formulaic, but it showed its card so early. So by this point, a third of the way through the movie, everything had kind of been laid out.

So I was just waiting for all the proper characters, realize what needs to be done. And then they discover what that is and do it. And then that even happens kind of early to the doctor’s on his own little path here. He’s investigating this, he’s talking to the girls, he’s got the hypnosis thing, which I thought was a little contrived, but okay.

Whatever to pull information out of the girls and then this woman. It comes back to him at some point later and says, uh, you know, I’ve got something, I’ve got more information, something you need to see. And she brings him into this sort of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the lost dark style, like, like government facility, where I was expecting her to like pop passive right by the do not open arc.

Great. You’re right, right, Florida. See lake just, 

Craig: just rows upon rows of like. Feet high shells, right. And she pulls off 

Todd: and she says, 

Craig: you believe in ghosts. I can’t say that I do. When a corpse has left out the elements, whether it desiccated, twisting it into a distorted figure, that’s barely recognizable as a human being a ghost as an emotion bent out of shape, condemned to repeat itself, time and time again, until it writes the wrong that was done.

What’s this,

Todd: which is a summary of basically every ghost story we’ve ever seen. Apparently a direct quote from two of Guillermo Del Toro’s, previous movies, um, or no one of his previous movies and then Crimson peak, which comes later. So she pulls off the shelf. She says, these are small remains. This 

Craig: is the wrong, like the wrong, that needs to be correct.

And I was a little, I was a little confused at what was going on at this point. 

Todd: At this point, I was like, oh, the mother, she jumped off with her baby and now her baby was lost. These are the remains. You got to get the remains back to the ghost. I mean, isn’t that like 80% of the stories like they’re looking for somebody else’s remains.

Craig: Yes. But, well, see, but I thought, and I don’t know if I just missed something or if I misheard something or what I thought it was mama’s ashes. Like I thought that she needed to be laid to rest and that that’s not what it is at all. Um, so, and, and, and again, maybe I just missed something. I don’t know. But things move.

I was going to say they move pretty quickly. They, they actually don’t. They move a little bit slowly, but we can talk about it quickly because not a whole lot happened. Like obviously Annabel is concerned and weird things are going on. Like we see again, no, nothing secret. We see mama playing with Lily a 

Todd: great scene 

Craig: too.

I did really like that scene. It shot like down a hallway so that you can see into on the right side of the screen, you can see into the girl’s bedroom, but the left side of the screen is the hallway that Annabel is in. But so we can see both clearly, but Annabel does has no idea what’s going on. In the room.

Um, and it’s kind of like a, will she won’t she see it kind of, but the course she doesn’t the cool 

Todd: thing about it is that Lily is playing with a blanket. Let’s like somebody else who you can’t see, because they’re further into the room is pulling on the blanket, she’s yanking it around and you would just assume that it’s Victoria, right?

Except at some point as like you say, uh, Annabel’s walking down the hall and you think she’s going to turn the corner, Victoria shows up. So you’re like, holy shit. And then when you look over in the room, suddenly can we see more of a shadow on the wall of the mother figure and you realize what’s going on.

And, but they pull this trick too many times. Honestly, they pull this trick so many times that you can see it coming. Like at least three times in this movie is a situation where you think it’s the two girls, but then you see Victoria. And it turns out that it’s Lily and mama who you thought was Lily and 

Craig: Victoria.

It happens a lot. And there are a lot, you know, a lot of times when like, um, Annabel hears weird things through the vents and like goes and surprises the girls playing. And like, they’re obviously surprised and like they’ve been caught doing something, but for whatever reason, mama isn’t visible. Like I was paying closer attention this time.

Um, that time when she thinks that she hears. Well, they sing, the girls sing this, or they don’t really sing. They kind of hum um, this melody and at one point Annabel hears them through the vents, but she hears a voice singing with them. That is not a child’s voice. It’s a woman’s voice. And she walks to their room and she hears them playing and she opens the door and they look like they’ve been caught, but mom was not there, which I thought was really convenient.

But if you pay attention, Lily is holding one end of that blanket. And the other end of the blanket is trailing into the closet, like pointing like, right. Like she had like mama had just disappeared into the closet, but you’re right. Those types of things happen a lot until eventually. Mamma just makes herself known all the time.

Todd: Everybody she came. And this is the thing that with these ghost movies always kind of troubles me a little bit, especially with an aggressive ghost, as this goes, turns out to be who’s protected these girls, why not from the very get go. Did she just sweep them back away? Why is she dicking around in this house with them and appearing and playing and all this stuff?

I mean, I’m trying to think, oh, well, was she holding back thinking that, you know, all she really cares about is that these girls are, are taken care of. And so as she sort of testing the caretakers and once one sort of Annabel proves herself that she can be a, a worthy mother to these kids, then she’s going to retreat.

You know, that doesn’t turn out to be the case. No. So I I’m just really kind of left wondering why mom was just fussing around so much. Um, and why she, you know, what we get at the end of the movie didn’t happen. 

Craig: Right, right. Well, you know, I don’t know. I can’t explain it. Other than that, this goes to his, apparently been living in this cabin by herself since the late 18 hundreds.

And now the only two Frank, when it comes down to basically is that this ghost has adopted them, you know, like, uh, she, she fi they call her mama. She is, she cared for them. And that’s part of what makes the movie kind of tragic. Like obviously the mama spirit is dangerous. And the villain of the story, but her story is tragic too.

And she got, you know, she, she lost her own child, as it turns out, you know, the psychologist at first tells Anabel that he thinks that, um, Victoria has associated personality disorder and that she is mama. I don’t know if he really believes that or not, but that’s what he tells her. He does more research and ends up.

And we actually ended up seeing this, uh, I guess mama reveals it to Annabel the same way that she had revealed it to Victoria through a dream. She had been in an institution mama had, and she, I guess, had a baby and she stole her baby killed a nurse or something and ran and then was, yeah. And then was pursued by men, um, and chased to the edge of this cliff.

And I guess that what she decided was that she would have. Die with her baby, then go back and have to give her baby every whatever. So she jumped off this cliff with what we see is from her perspective. She jumps and she has her baby, but right before she crashes into the water, she looks at her arms and her baby is gone.

And, and, and that seems like that is why she is a wandering spirit. Like she doesn’t know what happened to her baby. And Victoria tells Annabel at some point, you know, she, she wandered all around the woods looking for a baby, but she never found it. And I guess, you know, just being this lost wandering spirit, then these two girls showed up and they kind of took the place of her baby.

Um, we find out that as she had been falling from this cliff, there had been a branch like protruding out of it. And the swaddling, the baby swaddling had got caught in it. And, uh, Had had been suspended there and that’s why, um, she lost her. 

Todd: Yeah, I have to say another thing that kind of bothered me about the movie from a logical perspective was that too much of the information is revealed to the characters through these visions.

You know, they have a dream, they have a vision and now they know what they have to do. It’s, it’s just, it’s a convenient plot device and it’s very typical of these kinds of stories. But in this case, there wasn’t really a motivation for it because normally the ghost is revealing things to the characters and visions so that they can get the characters to fulfill their, their need.

You know, in this case, the ghost is just completely antagonistic towards these people and she’s, she’s gonna. To kill them both later. Yeah. 

Craig: It’s a little muddled, right? Like why is she revealing this stuff to Annabel? Because Victoria is scared. She is afraid that mama’s going to get jealous and hurt Annabel.

And she even, she rejects affection from Annabel because she’s like, no, you can’t do that. It’s going to make her jealous and I’m and she’s going to hurt you. Um, and at this point, I, I did like, at this point that Lily continues to embrace. Mamma. Yes. But that Annabel is clearly trying to pull away. And at one point, um, Lily wakes up in the night, I think mom was like beckoning her or something.

And all she ever says really in the whole movie is, uh, Victoria come mama. Yeah. Um, and at one point she goes to go out the window to follow mama. And she says that, and Victoria says, Victoria, stay and she’s crying. And I do think it’s hard for her. And I really actually like that element of the story. It is hard for her.

You know, she, I think that she wants to embrace this more normal life because she kind of remembers a normal life. And, and I think that she really recognizes that Annabel cares for them and is taking care of them. And she wants to embrace that relationship. But it’s hard for her. To let the other one go, especially since her little sister is still embracing that.

And that’s really basically what it comes down to. At some point, Lucas has a vision of his brother who says, save my girls, go to the cat. Whatever. And then he wakes up from his coma, the stupid aunt Jean visits, and like threatens to challenge them for custody because Lily has bruises on her face or something and it like, yeah.

They get bruises, which is totally true. And eventually mama completely reveals herself to Annabel. And there’s a little bit of a confrontation. Meanwhile, aunt Jean has come over. I’m not really sure why. I’m not sure if she’s like slew thing. 

Todd: Sure. Breaking into the house somehow. Like what the hell? It’s the middle of the night yet?

It’s I didn’t, I have no idea what she’s doing because the plot required it, the 

Craig: plot required it. And that’s you said that she’s pointless is she is pointless except for the girls needed a ride

to the cabin. So Mo so Jean showed up so that, so that mama could possess her for long enough to drive them apparently out to the cabin and the, uh, possessed Jean. Was very frightening. I feel like this is a good a time as any to say that, um, mama is played by a man, Javier Botet and apparently this guy has some sort of disorder that makes him very, very thin.

And, uh, he has really long limbs and really long fingers. So he has, I mean, if you look at his IMDV picture, he looks like a handsome guy, but, um, apparently he has, you know, kind of curious physique. Yeah. And he’s able to do this and, and he’s played these types of roles before he was in the it remake too.

He was the leper. Um, and, and he’s also played a, a ghostly woman in some other movie. So this is kind of his thing and he does it well. Uh, he’s really good. He’s very creepy. He can move and really unnatural ways. Again, I don’t know how much of that is CGI, but anyway, they all end up at the cat. I mean, it’s, it’s really kind of silly that they all end up there at the exact same time.

And, and mama has the girls out on the cliff and Lucas and Annabel runs to the cliff and mama is able to somehow subdue them. Like, I feel like she reaches into Lucas’s chest since almost like she’s squeezing his heart or something. He falls to the ground. And I didn’t know if he was supposed to be dying or what was going on.

Um, But, uh, she also touches Annabel and Annabel falls to the ground. And the girls start walking hand in hand with mama to the cliff. And Victoria keeps turning back to Annabel and saying Annabel sleep because mama keeps trying to put her to sleep, but Annabel won’t like she won’t give up and she keeps waking up and she keeps crawling towards them until eventually they’re near the edge of the cliff.

But Victoria stops because Annabel is clinging to her RO. And I think that what was going on here was that Victoria was going to go with mama because that would be what was best for everybody. She didn’t want to see Lucas and animals. Get hurt. So she was just going to go, but Annabel’s persistence. I think convinced her, this woman loves me and I want to stay with her.

And so she stayed. So she does, she lets go. Again, the ghost is the villain, but I feel bad for her. Like it’s sad. 

Todd: That’s kind of an interesting twist that happens there, where they are on the peak of the mountain and the, she is leading the girls away and they present her with the remains of her child and she turns around and it seems like everything’s going to wrap up.

But because Lily calls out to her mama, she turns around and kind of realizes, look, I can have this, this bag of bones or I can have this other girl, 

Craig: you know? Right. And she tosses the bones away. Like she just full hurdles, you know, it’s very. 

Todd: Complex. I think I really like the, the human, emotional aspect of this story.

Just everything you described, everything we’ve talked about, about the relationship between children and their mothers and the mother, you know, the sort of motherly instinct or whatever, or how you can bond with people over time. Like all of that was really, um, convincing and nice. I felt like the ghost story aspect of it was pretty pedestrian.

You know, it wasn’t stupid. It was just very paint by numbers and predictable. And quite frankly, there were a lot of things I didn’t understand a lot of plot holes and I just, I was just kinda waiting for that to wrap up. I think the movie could have been shorter because of it, what she ends up doing, I think, right.

Is she, she ends up taking Lily and now I was, I was a little surprised I was, 

Craig: and it’s sad, but it almost like make 

Todd: it seem like. Perfect, right? 

Craig: Yeah. The way, well, God, I mean, you’re just torn because you know, uh, Victoria has to say goodbye to her sister and Annabel and Lucas, you know, they don’t have as close a bond with Lily, but there was actually a really, really powerful scene.

Lily never bonded with anybody and she never lost her, um, kind of feral nature. She wouldn’t sleep in a bed, you know, she, she wouldn’t sit in chairs. She only ate with her hands like that never went away, but there was. There was a moment when, um, she had snuck outside to try to be with mama, but she hadn’t found mama.

And she had slept outside in the cold and Annabel had gone out and picked her up and brought her in. And this poor little girl is freezing and she screams no and tries like an animal to scamper away. That Annabel just holds her. And, and I mean, it, gosh, this scene had to have been hard to direct and hard to act because this little girl was fighting to get away.

And Jessica Chasteen just had to hold her and wrap her arms and legs around her and restrain her, which is. I I’ve had to do that. You know, I I’ve, I’ve worked in special education with young kids and I’ve had to restrain kids and it’s, it’s not easy and it’s, it’s emotional because you’re scared to death.

You don’t want to hurt them, but you know that you’re, you’re doing it for their safety. That’s what Annabel does with this girl. And when she, when she finally holds her there forcibly and, and is trying to comfort her from it’s, it’s like Lily, finally, for a moment, realizes this woman doesn’t want to hurt me.

This woman cares about me and you see it in her eyes, this little girl. Oh man. I was so impressed at that performance. You see that moment where she realizes. This woman’s trying to help me, you know, 

Todd: I thought that would be a turning point, but it turned out. It just wasn’t enough. Right? But that just wasn’t in that scene.

Completely foreshadows. What we see later on the cliff, right? It took, it took what proves it to the kids is the determination and the care that the adult has showing them. But the reality is for this one-year-old for this kid who was one year old, when she was taken away, this is the only mother she’s ever known is this ghost.

That’s the difference between these two kids. So it’s very fitting really. When you think about it, that this girl is going to be happiest with her ghost mother, wherever ghost mother is going to take her and where ghost mother takes her is right off the edge of the cliff. And that surprised me a bit, but they have this super stylized rather touching scene where the mom sort of supernaturally wraps her up.

This cloak, as she dies off the cliff and time just sort of slows down and we get a look inside of this little wrapping that they’re in as they’re slowly descending and Lily couldn’t be happier. She just know she’s, she’s got her hands. She’s at peace all over mom’s face she’s at peace. And the ghost mom is happy.

Everything is fine. And they hit that branch on their way down and they burst out into a bunch of mods. And, and then of course, you know, as the other three are embracing on the ledge, the one of the Moss flutters over and lands on Victoria’s arm. And, uh, Vic, Victoria just says Lily, and that moth sort of flits away.

So, 

Craig: and that’s the end. And I thought that it was like, I thought it was a sad ending. Like I said, the whole movie is tragic and a lot of ways. And the ending is, is sad. I it’s, I think it’s satisfying, but it’s sad. I was also left wondering what happens in that, right? Like, like how did they explain that?

Where, where did, uh, Lily go? You know, why is he at Jean dead? You know, like I, uh, I just saw this morning that, um, mama too is slated. It was supposed to film, I think in 2020, but of course, then the world went to hell. And 

Todd: what happened in 2020 Craig?

Craig: So I it’s postponed apparently indefinitely. Um, but Jessica Chasteen was set to reprise her role, but like. Y 

Todd: prison what’s gonna happen. I start at in prison because this girl’s disappeared 

Craig: and his mom is going to come back. Like, I don’t, that that’s stupid. Like, eh, that’s actually, one of the things that I liked about this movie was that it didn’t just tie everything up with a nice, pretty bow, like things, things weren’t perfect that the sisters were separated, the foster parents or whatever, lost the girl, they didn’t win.

And nobody really won, but I, I almost feel like that’s fitting it’s maybe in a ghost story, you know, more realistic, whatever, but, uh, there’s something satisfying about things not turning out perfectly. That’s true. Uh, you know, ultimately. I think it’s a good movie. You’re right. I mean, it’s a pretty typical ghost story, but the performances were strong enough that I was invested in these characters.

It’s gosh. Now the little girls I thought were fantastic, Jessica Chasteen I, you know, I say this. But it happens a lot. She had to carry this movie on her back. This movie was about, 

Todd: it really was. I mean, all the male characters really in this movie are sidelined or they’re kind of one like the doctor, you know, um, the doctor’s assistant has more humanity than the doctor does, you know, and she’s a woman.

So I think that’s kind of fitting maybe for the theme of the film, by the way. Do you think that Annabel wears the same misfits shirt every day? Or does she have like a whole bunch of them in her closet? Just come 

Craig: out? She, she probably wears the same one every day. She’s that rock and roll. I think 

Todd: that was her costume for the entire movie.

I do not remember her wearing anything else even to court. I think she had that misfits shirt, 

Craig: the whole mosque saying I don’t really get. The moving through the walls was kind of cool. And, you know, it projected when she was going to appear or when she was nearby. I, my favorite one was when she, it actually looked really, really cool at one point when she sunk through the floor.

Uh, and, and for a moment, she was, it was like she was in water, but just her eyes and the top of her head were above the floor, kind of looking at Anabel and then. And Jean just saw her hair move it, like, like just her hair was above the floor, like moving around the floor and coming at her overall, the effects were good.

You know, again, we’re, we’re running long. I’m trying to recap it. I can’t really think of much negative to say I’m not a huge fan of CGI. Um, I think that it definitely has its place and you can do really cool things with it, but for me, for it to be effective at S to look really good. And in this movie, I thought it looked good.

I didn’t think it looked really good. So, um, that, you know, I didn’t absolutely love, but beyond. I thought it was a good movie. I cared about the characters. You’re absolutely right with the cinematography. They did have different motifs, you know, with, with color and, um, other visual cues that I thought were real.

I think that, uh, Andy, Andy machete is a fine director. Um, and, uh, yeah, quite good. And I think that we’ll be seeing a lot more from. 

Todd: He did just to remind everyone he did it, uh, the new remakes of it as well. And I guess he’s got the flash and post-production 

Craig: and yeah, so, so overall I think this is a good movie.

I recommend it. Uh, it’s it’s spooky. It’s atmospheric. It’s it’s, it’s pretty scary, uh, in parts and, uh, the acting is, is good. The characterization is good. I liked it. And I didn’t mind watching it a couple of times in the last couple of weeks, so yeah. Check it out. 

Todd: Well, thank you again for listening to another episode.

If you enjoyed this, please share it with a friend. If you enjoyed it a lot, maybe you consider being a patron of this podcast. You can go to a page on.com/chainsaw podcast, and check out a reward tiers, get access to an exclusive 90 minute interview with us. The ability to help us choose movies that we will do in the future, as well as a forum that we’ve set up for a private internal communication between us and our patients.

And of course, access to our complete unedited episodes. And that’s something that’s interesting to you. Also, we produce a couple of mini sodas every month and you’ll be able to access those as well. If you’re a patron, you can also find us on Facebook and Twitter, and as well as our own webpage to guys that read 40 and.com, leave us a message.

Any one of those places, let us know what you thought of this episode and what movies you’d like us to cover in the future until next time. I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.


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