Mara review – boilerplate scares in don’t-sleep horror | Film

Some pretty moderate semi-scariness is on offer here, with a generic horror starring Olga Kurylenko. She is Kate, a US police psychologist called in to help with the bizarre case of a woman who has allegedly killed her husband during a psychotic episode – to the horror of her young daughter, who discovered the crime. But might there be supernatural forces at work? Well, the cops say there are no other suspects, and Kate suppresses whatever scruples she has and signs off on committing the woman to psychiatric imprisonment, a miscalculation that causes a fateful spasm of guilt in her heart.

Kate is briefly seduced by the siren song of rational explanation and she understands that conventional science has long since demystified the nature of sleep paralysis, during which hallucinations of possession can occur. But this is the real ghostly thing, a genuine demonic incursion to which she is alerted by a deranged-looking man, Dougie (Craig Conway) who knows that the satanic culprit is a female wraith called Mara, summoned from the netherworld by a seismic event of guilt or injustice – and she attacks when you’re sleeping. The plot meanders around the houses, delivering boilerplate scares with various borrowings from Nightmare on Elm Street and Paranormal Activity, and there are one or two strong moments: a gruesome scene when a seriously sleep-deprived Dougie has to take drastic action to stop his eyes from closing and also when Kate is being pursued down a brightly lit, apparently empty corridor. But really this is by-the-numbers stuff.

Source: The Guardian

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