Criminal psychologist Kate Fuller (played by Olga Kurylenko) 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 (played by Mackenzie Imsand). 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. Whilst some may think that this sounds a little similar to the plot of the ‘Elm Street’ series, this is far from a retelling of the knife handed killer from peoples dreams. The legend of a ‘Mara’ type demon predate the 1984 classic by centuries and whilst this film has some great horror moments, there is no comedic one liners in ‘Mara’ and the film tip toes the line from horror to thriller with grace.
The cast in ‘Mara’ are wonderful and we may think that the demon herself is all visual effect, nope. the character of ‘Mara’ is brilliantly and creepily played by Javier Botet (who also played the role of Mama in the film Mama) Whenever Mara is onscreen we are chilled out and unnerved and with Mara not having dialogue,the whole role is perfectly played with body language, lighting and sound design.
Craig Conway takes second billing as the role of ‘Dougie’, someone who is also being tormented by the demonic ‘Mara’ and who isnt lying around waiting to get himself snuffed out whilst in dream land. ‘Dougie’ wants to get to the bottom of the mystery and solve it, before he himself ends up as yet another victim of the sleep demon. Craig once again shows why he is one o the best character actors around with a full force performance, going from quiet to ‘rage’ in a matter of seconds and making the role of ‘Dougie’ into a totally believable role (as Craig does with all his roles)
But other than the creepy ‘Mara’ and the role of ‘Dougie’ Centre stage is taken by Olga in the role of Kate who I believe has more scenes in the film than any other character. She plays the entire spectrum of emotions in her journey from start credits to end credits and doesn’t miss a beat.Having seen her in the Bond movie Quantum of Solace, as well as the Tom Cruise starring Oblivion, it was great to see Olga tackle a main role rather than a supporting role ( I now need to familiarize myself with some of her other roles as shes definitely one talented actor)
Hats off to Director Clive Tonge who has ‘Mara’ as his feature film debut (he previous directed several short films) and I cant wait to see what he tackles next. A wonderful benchmark has been set. So you can take from my comments that ‘Mara’ is definitely a film to recommend, a wonderfully enjoyable, creepy, well acted and directed film.An afternoon well spent by myself.