Guillermo del Toro and Andres Muschietti take on the paranormal

Universal Pictures recently released the first trailer for its upcoming paranormal suspense flick.

Mama is based on a short film created by director Andres Muschietti, in which a pair of sisters encounter the ghost of their murdered mother.

After seeing the original Potuguese language short a year or so ago, Universal hired famed horror producer Guillermo del Toro to work with Muschetti to bring the film to the silver screen. Expect this trailer to appear in front of any upcoming thrillers you check out at the theater through the end of the year:

While expanding the film from its original short form to feature-length, the focus seems to have shifted dramatically. While the original film only dealt with the girls themselves and their attempt to cope with seeing their mother once again, the longer iteration will instead focus on their uncle’s girlfriend, Annabel, as she attempts to escape and destroy the mother’s ghost.

The new official synopsis is thus:

Five years ago, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished from their suburban neighborhood without a trace. Since then, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.

As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house. Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them? How did the broken girls survive those years all alone? As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence.

If you’re interested, here is the original short film:

Mama hits theaters on January 18th, 2013.