Universal’s 2013 horror film Mama was a sizable hit for the studio, no doubt buoyed by the involvement of star Jessica Chastain and executive producer Guillermo del Toro, and so it made sense when the studio began developing a follow-up. Director Andres Muschietti had made his theatrical debut on the project, based on a short film that he wrote and directed, but his involvement with the follow-up became tenuous when he was courted for bigger fare. Now, as Universal finally revs up development on Mama 2, they’ve set a pair of promising filmmakers to take the reins of the franchise.
Per THR, directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch are in final negotiations to rewrite and direct the horror sequel, which is being produced by Scott Bernstein and Russell Ackerman. Widmyer and Kolsh first made a splash with their 2014 horror indie Starry Eyes, which was a hit on the festival circuit and put Widmyer and Kolsh on the map as names to know. Now it appears they’ll get the chance to make the jump to the studio system while remaining in their genre wheelhouse.
Mama revolved around a pair of kids who had been raised in the woods by a terrifying and very clingy ghost woman, but it’s unclear where the sequel will take the story. However, The Wrap reports that Chastain is unlikely to reprise her role as the kids’ savior, so either the children find themselves in danger without a guardian, or Mama 2 will focus on an entirely new family altogether.
I thought Mama was a promising if somewhat sleight entry in the horror genre, but there’s no denying the central premise and creature effects were pretty spectacular. The nuts and bolts of the film are solid, so hopefully Widmyer and Kolsh can find an exciting way to further build on that foundation.
As for Muschietti, after fielding a number of offers following Mama, he became attached to and eventually fell off Universal’s The Huntsman. He is currently working on the It remake that Cary Fukunaga departed, and recently signed on to helm the Harry Houdini adaptation The Witch of Lime Street. In other words, he’s doing just fine.