[Review] Mara is the perfect nightmare fuel to tuck you in at night

Attention, spoiler free

Mara stars Olga Kurylenko as criminal psychologist, Kate Fuller as she investigates the death of a strangled man.

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She then comes into contact with the man’s daughter and key witness, Sophie. She utters one word, “Mara”. As she dives deeper into the case, she finds a community of different individuals who are tortmented by an ancient demon. This demon kills people as they sleep. While she investigates, she starts having the same symptoms as the other victims.

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At that point it’s a race against time to solve that case before she has to go to sleep herself. At first glance, this movie can seem cliche. In all honesty, the horror genre is indeed a hard genre to inovate in. We also have to consider that the genre has been around for a very long time. That being said, this film holds great potential in tackling fears that haven’t been touched on yet.

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Sleep paralysis occurs when you’re waking up from a dream and you’re unable to move. Of course the effects are only temporary, however it can slow down bodily functions like breathing. I was immediately impressed that director Clive Tonge chose sleep paralysis to tell a horror tale. The first act of the movie was written with a solid understanding of a good horror movie but also paving the way for the events that will occur. It was nice seeing Kate interracting with the other officers at her station because it can give a character and her surroundings more depth. When she starts to experience the symptoms herself, she has to get down to the bottom of things without falling asleep.

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When you fall asleep, is when you see the different denizens of this nightmare. Personally, I’ve never had sleep paralysis or that I can remember anyways so I don’t know what it’s like. I do have plenty of friends who do and they all say it’s terrible. I don’t want to spoil anything in case you want to see it but it’s a film I like more than I thought I would.

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The performances from each actor were solid andthe score was very eerie and creepy. Almost like the score itself was another antagonist of the the movie. So the first half of the movie I really enjoyed. The second half of the movie is where things get more interesting.

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I don’t want to spoil anything but sometimess horror movies want to throw everything and the kitchen sink at you. Sometimes that can be a detrement to a movie in this genre. Overall I really liked this movie and I could recommend it to anyone who likes a story about ancient demons trying to kill you while you are sleeping. This is a solid directorial debut from Clive Tonge and I’ll be interested to see what he has up his sleeve.

3.5/5

Pros:
  • Solid acting from the cast as Olga Kurylenko spearheading it all.
  • The score is eerie and atmospheric.
  • Original story showcasing a downward spiral into nightmare


Cons:

  • Back to back horror tropes.
  • The plot is too predictable.
  • The creature design was dull and unimaginative.

Review written by Brandon Samuel

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