If there's one thing we've learned over the course of our many years of movie-watching, it's to beware the words "Guillermo del Toro presents"... because whatever film they're attached to will be scary enough to give even the most stout-hearted horror fan a raging weeklong case of the screaming woo-woos. And after getting a gander at the newly-released trailer for Mama, the most recent film to get the del Toro seal of approval, it's safe to say that the man's record for pants-wetting terror remains intact. So sit back, steel your nerves, and ready your reserve supply of underwear: here comes Mama.
We open with a bearded woodsman stumbling across a remote cabin deep in the forest. A cabin where the door is unlocked, the rooms are empty, and the floors are scattered with tiny, creepy shoes. Why?
Aha! Possibly because the inhabitants of the house have long since given up on wearing shoes! Or bathing! Or doing anything but crouching on top of the refrigerator like enormous feral squirrels covered in filth!
And so we uncover the premise of this story: the cabin is home to two little girls, Victoria and Lily, who have survived alone in the wilderness for at least five years. Not surprisingly, their long abandonment has left both girls with serious issues, including an inability to communicate and a penchant for hiding under beds like scared cats.
Also, their table manners are atrocious! But despite all this, we flash forward to a courtroom in which some dude is claiming that "Victoria and Lily have a real chance at a normal life," so let's let them go home with their well-meaning aunt and uncle, which is an excellent idea and will definitely not result in someone getting their fingers and/or chunks of face bitten off by a rabid kindergartner. Nope!
Of course, Aunt and Uncle (Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) do win custody of the kidlets, and off they go to the requisite old and creepy house full of dark corners and mysterious thuds in the night. At first, it seems like the kids are just typical problem children—writing on the walls, making crude but frightening drawings of human figures bent at unnatural angles, bringing an infestation of moths into the house, and grinning like tiny maniacs while staring wildly at nothing and whispering, "Mama"...
...Oh. Is it just me, Jaime Lannister, or is this getting weird?
It's Jessica Chastain, in the classic horror-film role of reluctant mother figure, who suggests that "someone" is visiting the girls. Perhaps a dead someone! As evidenced by the suggestion of the also-classic creepy old lady who tells her that "a ghost is an emotion bent out of shape", and also by the fact that the walls are bleeding, and oh, look, I wonder whose skull this is?
Ohhhhhh. And the human tarantula-looking thing scuttling down the hallway like a bag of nightmares?
And the word I'm going to wake up screaming in terror after watching this trailer another few times?
THAT WOULD BE IT.
What do you think of this first look at Mama?