During our dating days me and Mabel used to watch a lot of horror movies. Those were the times when the Asian horror movies were released every other week. They ranged from the Japanese, Korean, Thailand, Hong Kong, and even Singapore. Sure many were average at best, but there were some really good ones which gave us enough scares to justify the movie tickets. I remember the Korean ones were really good, and so were the Japanese ones. I especially liked those with plot twists that you can't see coming from a mile away.
To me, what makes a good horror movie is it's ability to make you terrified.... even after you leave the theatre. The ones which haunt you and become the source of nightmares for the next few days, now those are the classics. A perfect example would of course be The Ring. The original Japanese one, not the horrible American remake. I distinctively remember how certain scenes were permanently embedded in my school day memories. The main reason why the Asian horror movies tend to be better than say western ones is the formula of not resorting to the "Scream" formula: relying on cheap scare tactics such as loud sound effects or the standard over the shoulder "boos". The good ones play with your mind. Take for instance, in many Japanese horror movies you never get to see the ghost's faces. In "Dark Water" you never actually saw the face of the little girl who drowned. In photos and posters, her face was always smudged. Likewise with Sadako in The Ring. It creeps you out, and makes you feel uncomfortable. That's one element which I felt gave the Asian movies the edge over the Hollywood ones. The ability to make you feel uncomfortable.
Ok, to the main topic. I watched Mama a few days ago, and to be honest I was pretty impressed. The reason why could perhaps be derived from why I spent so much time talking about what makes Asian horror films good. I felt Mama borrowed a lot of elements from the good Asian movies, and it made the movie stand apart from the rest of the Hollywood films. I don't really want to spoil anything for those who haven't watched the film, but what I do want to say is that while the plot might be a little unrealistic and perhaps some of the turn of events a little too far fetched, I enjoyed the movie. And that's coming from someone who complains a lot about "scary" movies. I jumped during quite a couple of scenes, which isn't usual, and I was having a blast laughing at myself. All in all, it's a good movie if you're into the horror genre. With mother's day round the corner, this might be a good way to remind yourself that a mother's love is forever :)