Mama, the Spanish-Canadian horror film directed by Andres Muschietti and starring Zero Dark Thirty's Jessica Chastain, was released in theaters on January 18. And, according to the Associated Press, the film is "more teasing than shocking horror."
It is unclear why they keep releasing "horror" movies so far from Halloween. But one of the reasons could be the reinvention of the genre. The AP says, in Mama, "less is more," meaning that what the film lacks in gore action it presumably makes up for with "enough tension and gasps" as well as a "good sense of creating a mood and pacing the jolts."
Perhaps the film's lack of bloody violence is a response to a shift in gender demographics, now that just as many or even more women than men flock to the box office — not only seeking "traditionally female" films such as romantic comedies but also alternate genres such as suspense and horror (what's next female-oriented action flicks?).
But, most likely, Mama's reserved style may respond to the story itself. According to the AP, in expanding the story from a 2008 sort film, Muschietti, focused on Annabel (Chastain's character), "a self-absorbed scenester who gradually discovers something resembling a maternal instinct as the girls' emotional traumas are thrust upon her."
So there you have it; another "male-dominated" genre (political thriller Zero Dark Thirty being the previous one) in which Jessica Chastain succeeds at providing a feminist perspective, ultimately reinventing and transforming it while opening up new narrative possibilities that transcend the traditional gender roles cinema usually assigns story tellers.
Watch the trailer below: