(Olga Kurylenko, Craig Conway, Javier Botet, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2018 / Lionsgate Films)
Overview: Criminal psychologist Kate Fuller is assigned to the murder of a man who has seemingly been strangled in his sleep by his wife and the only witness is their eight-year-old daughter, Sophie.
As Kate digs into the mystery of an ancient demon which kills people in their sleep, she experiences the same petrifying symptoms as all previous victims and spirals through a chilling nightmare to save herself and Sophie before she dares fall asleep again.
Blu-ray Verdict: Having problems falling asleep at night? Are you tossing and turning in bed all night? Or are frightening nightmares disturbing your well-deserved sleep? Well, in that case, I advise you not to watch 'Mara', because it could possibly get worse!
Now, I myself have absolutely no problems with that and always enjoy a carefree night's sleep. To be honest this film won't be the cause of me lying awake in bed while staring frightened at the ceiling. In itself it wasn't a bad movie, but I didn't think it was too original. And certainly not scary.
'Mara' is a kind of 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' with a similar creature as in 'Mama' who surprises certain people with a nightly visit. The reason why some enjoy this privilege is a little bland. I am certain that half of the world's population would be eligible for this.
Kate (Olga Kurylenko, 'Oblivion') is a psychologist who is called upon in a murder case. A murder case in which a wife killed her husband in his sleep. Kate has to use all her psychological knowledge to judge the suspect's mental state.
At first, it seems like Kate is a wise person who uses her analytical, down-to-earth reasoning to come to a final conclusion. But as she gets entangled in the mystery of the demon who visits poor souls during their sleep (in different stages), this intellectual attitude seems to disappear like snow in the sun.
Believe me. Would I experience a few frightening confrontations with this illustrious creature, I would really believe in what those others were saying. Moreover, if I had visible evidence on video, I certainly would go to the detective who's investigating the case to let him know what I discovered. Oh, but not our Kate. Oh no. She's dead silent about it.
The fact that the succubus Mara eerily resembles the phenomenon of 'Mama', isn't coincidental. That's because the person who played both creeps is one and the same. Namely the Spanish actor Javier Botet. Again such a creepy, skeletal creature that walks in a staggering way.
In addition to that, she also produces eerie noises. It sounds like the horrible cracking of bones. But unfortunately, she appears in the distance. In the dark, you can hardly see her.
And apart from a few (very predictable) jump scares, there's actually nothing to be scared about. I'm certain the sleep deprivation is the cause of their hallucinations. But that's just my sober, realistic side speaking.
So, no, you really can't say this film is fascinating. There were even a few moments that it felt as if I had symptoms of sleep paralysis myself. But that's because of the film itself. The funny thing about such films is that they always come up with a second scientist who is skeptical about the event. And even when it's obvious that inexplicable things are happening, he approaches the phenomenon scientifically and tries to give a rational explanation for it.
Apart from the phenomenal (on the physical level) acting of Javier Botet and the acceptable acting of Olga Kurylenko, it was especially Craig Conway who impressed and convinced as the war veteran Dougie, who's fighting against falling asleep.
Unfortunately, the lack of tension and the sleepwalking pace make it look rather monotonous. Are you a newbie in the field of horror, then 'Mara' could make an impression. For the seasoned horror fanatics, it's pretty sleep-inducing, sorry. [PP]
Regardless, and one way or another, prepare to lose a whole lot of sleep when 'Mara' arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital), DVD and Digital November 6th from Lionsgate. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
Mara: A Legacy of Evil