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MicroReview: Mara (2018)



Sophie wakes up, hears scary noises from her parents' bedroom and sees her dad dead. A psychologist arrives there to determine what happened.

Review

The feature debut of writer / director Clive Tonge is a neat little horror. A criminal psychologist is investigating a death, haunted by a monster in her sleep, with sleep paralysis playing a hefty role. No, it doesn't break much new ground in story - but it also doesn't re-tread a thousand other stories - and what it does, it does well. Tonge has a good eye in the chair, creating a creepy movie for sure, but also provides some spot on pacing. At times Mara is truly slow burn, at others not so much. It leaps and lulls well. His writing is clever enough, shifting the story without jarring it, and dropping surprises without breaking the narrative. The man clearly has some talent.

Leading the cast is Olga Kurylenko (The Room) holding the film firmly on her shoulders with a great performance, and an excellent turn from Craig Conway (The Serpent).

The effects are good, the scares plentiful. It's a gripping horror with lots to like, and at only just over ninety minutes, you could do a lot worse. It's nice, in a sea of PG-13's to see a decent R, without relying on senseless gore.

Good stuff.

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