Parents should go to any length to protect their children. It’s not just love. It’s a biological imperative. But sometimes emotions are no match for biology, and these emotions get horribly twisted. There are some parents who kill their children and believe that this is protection. These parents find some sick, awful salvation in death. Mama hints at going to this dark, disturbing place, but ends up playing it safe. The movie dances around what it means to protect and neglect a child, and the film deserves credit for attempting to stretch beyond, “It’s good to love and nurture innocent kids.” Unfortunately, the film is bogged down in poor pacing and pushing a crummy monster rather than letting the strong performances and cinematography convey an unsettling subtext.