‘Mama’ Motion Test Footage is Scarier Than the Film

Published 2 years ago by

How many times have you been fully immersed in a sci-fi or horror film only to have the illusion decimated by a weak CG alien or ghost reveal? The technology may be improving, but it’s still disappointingly easy to pinpoint digitally rendered elements in live action environments and, in the case of Mama, that fact arguably sucked a good deal of the terror out of a deliciously creepy horror movie experience.

Per Guillermo del Toro’s tendency to highlight the whimsical, Victoria and Lilly’s lost-in-the-woods caretaker, Mama, takes on a fantastical quality. While the bleeding black walls and abundance of moths make for some eerie imagery, the unveiling of Mama herself can detach you from the impressively grounded environment by giving the villain a sadly cartoonish tinge. Making the misstep even more disappointing is that director Andrés Muschietti had a winning design well before applying the digital effects.

Javier Botet as Mama ‘Mama’ Motion Test Footage is Scarier Than the Film

Javier Botet is Mama. At just five-years-old, Botet was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a disorder that causes the affected to become unusually tall with long, thin arms, legs and fingers. While the condition does come with risks (in Botet’s case difficulty breathing – he still embraces his situation, using his physicality and contorting abilities to create striking characters like Medeiros in the REC movies and now, Mama.

The quality of this video and the spooky background tune do help to set the mood, but Botet’s work in this motion test via io9 is spot on. In this raw form, the character has a far more human appeal, and what’s more frightening than a ghost or creature that feels real? Had the Mama team opted to ditch the fancy floating and more refined look, the grittiness of Botet’s Mama would have made – in this writer’s opinion – for an exponentially more nightmarish end result.


Mama is now in theaters. Be sure to read our review.

Source: io9

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.

Follow Perri Nemiroff on Twitter @PNemiroff
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  1. Javier Botet MUST play Slenderman

  2. Really? Of course this footage is creepy. Malnourished contortionists performed creepy and unnatural movements in front of the camera while, I might add, a black & white filter was used and eerie music overlayed.

    I guarantee if this same footage was seen using the original audio, no one at all would be creeped out. As a sound designer for the stage, I know well the influence sound plays in the overall experience. Yes, this video was creepy, but only because it was edited so with creepy music.

    • …And horror movies use sound to freak you out, too. Having a hard time seeing your point…

      • I guess my point is moot. While the footage was awesome and definitely creepy, I felt that the premise of the article (which drew me to it) was slightly sensationalized. Just my opinion.

        I have plenty respect for you, Mr. Outlaw. Maybe I was merely ranting unnecessarily. =)

        • Did you see the movie? I’m telling you this is creepier than the end result – with or without music and even without being in context. Just seems like lately the better and more memorable stuff is the practical stuff – Bagul in Sinister, the demon in Insidious, etc. To each his own though, especially when it comes to what freaks us out.

          • @Tyree – I watched this (like I do all horror movies) with the sound off (I’m a wuss) and it thoroughly creeped me out lol


    • I watched it with no audio and was freaked out, just saying.

    • The b&w and music was added? and heres me thinking it was happening in my house

  3. *spoiler*
    Mamas look was fine for me, until she turned white ghost but that ending was horrible altogether.
    They shouldve had her continue possessing the aunt which was way scarier looking.
    Also what was that technique used for the dream sequences, that was creepy as well?

  4. I too have Marfan syndrome. not to that degree, but I found out when I shattered my hip at 26 years old. just thought i’d share, it’s a pretty rare thing. Abraham Lincoln had it too.

  5. How does he do that!?

  6. Creepy!

  7. thats amazing i like scary movies and i watch this with out sound (-__-)but i thought they used effects. wow thats cool

  8. What I found unfortunate is not being able to get a good look at Mama until the very end.

    This article is dead on when the author states that she looks like a cartoon. The creators could have done a much better job of making Mama look like an actual person instead of something so obviously fake.

    I understand realism takes an enormous amount of time and money, but Mama could have looked better than a black mess. She would have been much more terrifying in her ghost like form at the end.

    Aside from some of the effects, this is a great movie.

  9. Holy Cow! I thought all that was just CG! Bravo!

  10. I agree with u. Watched it with the sound off and it was scary. But mama is a ghost so technically she isn’t supposed to look real.

    • I think the more appropriate word would be photorealistic. Many films are ruined with CGI because it doesn’t look photorealistic, as if someone or something was really there.

  11. I saw the movie 5 times &i love the movie so much that I want to be mama for halloween