Mara Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
Alright first B Movie Sunday of the year. Wanted it to be last week, but movie I picked was a particularly bad one and didn’t want to start off on a bad foot. So, I pushed it back another week. Good, bad or in between whatever movie I picked was going to be what I ran with today, and movie chosen was the 2018 Mara. A sleep demon who kills people with Sleep Paralysis. Seemed like an interesting premises and wanted to see what the movie was all about. So, lets dive in and see what this movie has to offer.
The movie starts with a little girl named Sophie, being awaken by a sound and scared by the open closet. Sneaking out of her room and toward her parents when a she hears a woman screaming, coming from the bedroom. When she reaches for the door handle, the door flung open and her Mom comes rushing out. Screaming for her to not look and we see her Dad’s lifeless body twisted in knots. After a bit of an opening sequence. We jump to Forensic Psychologist Kate, waking up, going about her daily routine, before getting the call to come to the crime scene. Detective McCarthy wanting her expertise on whether or not the Mother was going to be committed. When she fails to get the Mother to talk, goes to talk to Sophie. Who is with her Grandpa. She is hiding under the bed, before he leaves says he thinks it was Dougie. Meanwhile, Sophie says it was someone named Mara. When Kate takes this to the Mother, she flips and starts to scream. Calming down at the station, saying that they had argued over him having an affair and that she was going to get a divorce. When they fail asleep, she woke up and saw Mara, the Sleep Demon kill him. This was all the Detective needed to hear and it is up to Kate whether she is going to a mental institution or be arrested. After a night, she makes the choice to have her committed and that night, she experiences Sleep Paralysis and sees Mara. Which gets her to relook over the evidence and finds the name Takahashi. Going to his house only to find him dead in the same way that Sophie’s Dad was. She tries to talk sense into the Detective that this had to be the same person that killed him, but he isn’t going to do anything without evidence. Leaving it up to her to investigate and learn just who Mara is and that is where I am leaving it for now.
Starting off, I really enjoyed the performance by Olga Kurylenko as Kate. Really making me care about her plight. Trying to do what is right by Sophie and her Mom and then Dougie when it became aware that he was next. Can fill her building terror, but was still selfless when Mara was coming after Sophie. Olga did a great job from beginning to end. Same with Craig Conway as Dougie, someone who evolved from someone dislikable to extremely sympathetic. He wants to help, but is riddled in fear of his own. Not wanting to die and dragged down by the lack of sleep and worked really well off Olga. And kind of wish we got to see more of Melissa Bolona. Carly was a pretty good character.
You hear people talk about terrifying experiences that they had during Sleep Paralysis and many have seen demons. So using it to make a story over a specific demon was a solid idea with a lot of room to play with. Having some real tense scenes and did like how Mara looked and moved.
Unfortunately, that rounds out my positives. I don’t normally like picking out the logic holes in movies. Just go with the flow and let the story play out but there were two big ones that I can’t really ignore. Starting with the least nitpicky one, and that is the death of Sophie’s Dad and the fact that it couldn’t have been Carly who did it, like physically couldn’t have done it. Which would not be this much of an issue, but Kate makes this same argument after the death of Takahashi. They even have two other suspects in Dougie and whoever he had the affair with. They don’t even bother talking to Dougie until the third death. I get that they are going for no one believing in Mara, but there is a line between characters acting logical in the face of supernatural and just being dumb, and they pass this line way to many times in this movie.
Now, Mara is awaken by a tragedy and when she has been awaken, is driven to people who carry around guilt and the guilt here is… thin to say the least. I guess that is where they were going for.. maybe. I mean, they did Sophie right. Sophie felt guilty because she talked to Kate and got her Mom committed, which to a kid would be a thing. Dougie killed two during his time in the war, by accident during what sounded like a battle, in which he was defending his squad. Carly felt guilt over breaking up her family with a divorce and Husband was guilty over the affair. Only two who actually sounded like they were guilty on something big was Takahashi and maybe Saul. Kate’s big guilt was… either getting her committed or not listening to Carly which lead to her death. The twist option so they could end on the death of Kate. A horrible decision in my opinion. Could have had her go eye to eye with Mara and accept the mistakes that she made and own it, which absolved her and ended on a listen, but no.
I don’t want to start the year off with a bad review, so I am going to do something a little different. I wouldn’t suggest this movie. Outside of some good performances, there was nothing much here for me to enjoy, but if you like demon movies and are generally freaked out by the concepts of Sleep Paralysis. Then you might be able to enjoy Mara, just don’t go in with exceptions. As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.