It, the latest Stephen King’s adaptation, is coming out soon (8th September in the Unites States) and will be directed by the Argentinian filmmaker Andres Muschietti.
Since both the first and the second trailer to the killer clown’s film have pumped the viewers beyond every expectation, it’s worth taking a look to the previous feature-length movie directed by Muschietti.
Mama (2013) is based on the short film of the same name, also directed by Muschietti, and tells the story of two young sisters who have lost their parents, lived for a while in an abandoned cabin in the woods and rescued by their dad’s twin brother Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Any fan of Game of Thrones here?) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain).
Being very little when they got lost in the forest, Victoria and Lilly have created an imaginary mother-figure called Mama who, according to them, has been looking after them all along while they were trapped in the woods. Since Lucas and Annabel have a hard time with the custody of the sisters, they turn to psychiatrist Dr. Gerald Dreyfuss, who first discovers Mama might be something more than only an imaginary friend…
Purely judging by the first two acts of the movie, I’d say Muschietti is the right guy to direct It.
Atmosphere, sounds design, use of colours and cinematography are brilliant. There is an ongoing greenish tonality surrounding every shot that makes for an overall suspenseful vibe, while it also guarantees an implied symbolism regarding Mother Nature and the relationship mother-daughter which will be revealed towards the end of the film.
Yet, the camera-work hints to dangers and perils without showing them, by framing the screen as if it’s split in two symmetric parts and hiding the paranormal element from the viewer’s sight.
Therefore, over the first hour of runtime, Mama is a quite frightening movie, despite not having breath-taking scary moments – other than two rather effective jump-scares.
Also, the acting is really good. Especially in regards to Jessica Chastain and the two kids. Nothing mind-blowing, but definitely above average performances.
The film lost me in the third act, though. Due to an over-reliance on CGI, the last thirty minutes or so of Mama are silly and, since the rest of the movie is very watchable, also frustrating.
Again, the reveal itself and its execution are silly and extremely ‘in your face’, so that the mystery and ambiguity built up until that point get crashed, leaving nothing but disappointment.
Mama’s ending is one of the few reasons why I’m afraid It would not live up to the expectations. As the 1990’s mini-series has taught us, the problem with the Stephen King’s adaptation consists of not making its ending dumb and laughable. And, unfortunately, so far Andres Muschietti hasn’t proved us he could work out a worthy conclusion for its movies.
Nevertheless, Mama is a watchable, middle-of-the-road horror flick which can be enjoyable but also frustrating at points. With an amazing source material, such as the novel It is based on, let’s hope Muschietti could do a better job with its next film. Cheers!