Mara (2018) Movie Review
Written By: FZ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Clive Tonge
Writers: Clive Tonge, Jonathan Frank
Producer: Stephen Hays, Alice Neuhauser , Juliette Passer, Wendy Rhoads
Date Released : September 7, 2018
Olga Kurylenko as Kate
Craig Conway as Dougie
Javier Botet as Mara
Rosie Fellner as Helena
Lance E. Nichols as McCarthy
Mackenzie Imsand as Sophie
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain spoilers***
The movie opens with a young girl waking up in the middle of the night while hearing scary noises in her parent’s bedroom. She went to the bedroom and sees her dad twisted and seemingly dead. Police arrived, and a psychologist was called to interview the mother and the only witness in the murder, the young Sophie. As the psychologist digs into the mystery of the death, she starts to experience the same horrific symptoms as all previous victims. She now struggles trying to save herself and Sophie from the chilling nightmares and eventual death.
Due to the underlying subject matter of demonic possession, Mara’s kills are very disturbing, and what she causes her victims to do are shocking too. Mara’s presence is absolutely frightening and terrifying. The film itself takes a good time building great suspense and tension. There are many very intense scenes of terror and being in sleep paralysis, also involving the tall demonic female entity.
The Grave Review
Mara(2018) falls in the filmmakers’ attempt of exploring some tried and tested arenas in horror, such as sleep, night terrors, and nightmares, which was made famous thanks to the craft work of Wes Craven and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Dreams always been an interesting realm to investigate in both horror and thrillers, fragments of realities turned into enticing moments or plaguing the victim.
Mara utilized very effectively nightmares in sleep as the main subject while a dream demon named Mara comes into form. The movie focuses first as a crime drama while embellishing it with elements of a thriller before entering the realm of horror. The name “mara” is based on Scandinavian folklore. When people had nightmares, they said they had been ridden by the mara (the Norwegian word for nightmare is “mareritt”) who took the shape of a woman.
The film has a good script. Dialogue flows. Pacing is slow in the beginning and flows better halfway through. Although a predictable plot, it is expected to come with police procedural intertwined with a psychologist’s input that will complicate a simple story.
The film lacks major scare factors, as it focuses attention in a crime drama. The filmmakers try to imply and insert some chilly moments however it feels like they are more appropriate for smaller movie perhaps television fright scenario.
For the horror genre, there is not always a need to show the monster, and uses other techniques to present chilly horrors, with the music, cinematography and actors all creating lasting terrors for the audience, however this movie failed to deliver. It implements the slow-burn style at the start of the film but struggles to the pick up the pace. It is also notable that this folklore surrounding Mara makes for an interesting bedtime movie.
Because of the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Mara (2018) two and a half graves out of five graves.
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