Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 302nd Review!
After working from since March 19th, I will be heading back to the station at the start of November. My work place is taking a whole lot of steps to keep us social distanced and as safe as possible, so that’s good. But it’s been really nice being able to actually see my family because my normal hours make it pretty much impossible. So after getting the news and waiting for President Baby to go to sleep, I checked out...
Mara (2018). Netflix
We start the movie with a young girl slowing walking toward her parent’s room as screams have woken her. Once she reaches the door her mother bursts through yelling at her not to look. Sadly, the girl can’t help and lets out a shriek as she sees her dad with his head twisted around his neck. The police come the next day along with a psychologist who decides the mother should be committed after she tells them a sleep demon named Mara killed her husband. Feeling the guilt of being the one who made the decision to separate the two, the psychologist, Kate, starts having sleep paralysis and sees something in her room while she can’t move. From there she starts investigating as more people are dying with their heads twisted around and her sleep paralysis starts getting a lot scarier.
Sleep paralysis is a very common thing and one of the doctors say it’s very likely everyone will experience it once in their lives. Although according to Wikipedia, that number is probably closer to 50%. It has happened to me once before and it’s terrifying. Basically, when you sleep your brain releases a chemical that paralyzes you so you don’t act out your dreams while sleeping. Sometimes you wake up and that chemical is still running its course, so you’re halfway between dream and reality but you are still processing everything. A popular thing that happens, and what happened to me, is you feel like something is sitting on your chest, it’s hard to breathe and you see something, in my case it was the devil. If I could describe it, it’s fucking terrifying and it’s why I was intrigued by this movie. I mean, the scariest parts of The Haunting of Hill House involved this happening to Eleanor.
I have to give this movie credit, it did a lot of research to make Mara seem believable. One of the characters, Dougie started researching her once he became “marked.” You think he’s crazy, but when you see the research he’s done and the way he delivers it, you really believe him and it sounds very believable. For a movie of this sort, it’s kind of impressive the lengths they went through to explain what this creature is and how long it’s been around. For those smart asses who want to call me out about how I always bitch about Rob Zombie over-explaining Michael Myers, this is way different. Michael was already established as a mysterious character that Dr. Loomis spent almost two decades trying and failing to understand. To give an established monster an unnecessary background after the fact is way different than explaining a brand new monster.
Speaking of Mara, she’s easily the best part of the movie. She’s played by the awesome Javier Botet who you may recognize as Mama, The Crooked Man, Slender Man, Keyface and The Toeless Corpse. He was born with a genetic defect that gave him long, fine fingers and a very tall and thin frame. No matter what he plays, he’s ALWAYS terrifying. He’s quickly moving up the ranks and he may be pushing the top spot for my favorite horror actor. When he’s in a movie, no matter what he’s playing, he is absolutely frightening. To clear up any confusion, the actor is a man, but he’s playing a woman demon, so from here on out, I’m going to refer to it using the female pronouns. This movie uses the demon Mara perfectly. You never get a good look at her face, mostly shadows and her extremely creepy hands and body. It’s extremely unnerving seeing her move, and the noises she makes as she slowly stalks her prey is equally terrifying. While it’s cool as hell when she does show up, you actually feel scared for the characters because it’s truly terrifying. Everything about her is great and she’s definitely worth the price of admission.
I enjoyed it. Sure the acting isn’t all that great or convincing in parts, but it doesn’t matter. This is a really effective movie at keeping you on edge whenever a character is tired. I like when a movie can take something so many people have felt, like sleep paralysis, and make a whole movie out of it. While it’s a common thing people get, this movie is a lot more creative than I thought it was going to be. The original plan for this was for Mara to be the start of the series, but looking at it’s Rotten Tomatoes and the money it made, I don’t know if more movies will see the light of day. That’s good and bad. It’s good in the sense that we know just about everything there is to know about this demon so if they make a sequel I don’t know where they go next. I imagine it would go through the same beats as the original and that doesn’t excite me.
On the other hand, if this were to spawn other movies, that means we would get more get more Javier Botet and at this point I wouldn’t complain if we could find a way to get his extremely creepy look and mannerisms in every horror movie ever. He rules.
7 Dr. Chainsaws!
Supernatural Horror Movies When criminal psychologist Kate Fuller investigates a man who was seemingly murdered in his sleep by his wife, she uncovers a case like no other. Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Javier Botet, Mitch Eakins