Movie Review: Mara (2018)

September 3, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

After a man is strangled in his sleep, and twisted into a knot like one of those massive-ass mall pretzels, the police immediately blame the dude’s wife, no matter who vehemently their daughter blames someone called ‘Mara’. Enter criminal psychologist Kate Fuller (Olga Kurylenko) who investigates the claims of the accused and before you can say “Frederick Krueger” she discovers that ol’ Mara is a demon that murders people in their sleep. As our heroine presses on she discovers the deceased attended a support group for sufferers of sleep paralysis, and when she takes it upon herself to attend a meeting she finds that the participants all seem to be haunted by Mara (who marks her prey with one hell of a case of pink eye) who is offing them one by one while they get their snooze on. Sure as shit, ol’ Fear Fightin’ Fuller finds her self marked by our sleep stalker and the race is on to figure out how to end the curse before more bodies hit the floor…or mattress…whatever, you cats get what I’m layin’ down.
So that’s the lowdown on the plot, but how does Mara stack up in the ol’ horror biz? Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag honestly. On the one hand, you have some pretty damned good performances here with lead Kurylenko alternating between level headed investigator and scared to the balls victim of a supernatural pain in the ass with equal aplomb, and supporting actor Craig Conway, as half crazed ex-vet and Mara expert Dougie, offering a wonderfully gritty and believably disturbed performance. On the negative side, there are moments of the film that dovetail into cliche and borrow heavily from A Nightmare on Elm Street and Se7en in both aesthetics and inspiration for set pieces…but to be fair, the mythology created by screenwriter Jonathan Frank is fun and gives the proceedings a nice bit of world building.
In the middle of quality road we have the performance of Javier Botet as the eponymous creature; he does a solid job, but this is the same visual and acting style he has done ad nauseam so don’t expect to get your sinister socks rocked by this monster my creeps!
If you are looking for a murder mystery with supernatural shenanigans than I would definitely say give Mara a wicked whirl; it isn’t unique enough (especially in regards to it’s creature design) to stand (severed) head and shoulders above the crowd, but it’s well crafted and acted enough to entertain at least once.


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