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‘Mara’ Review

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Genre : Horror
Rating : R
Director: Clive Tonge

Cast:
Olga Kurlyenko
Javier Botet
Craig Conway

Few things sound as terrifying as sleep paralysis. Perhaps best-known today thanks to Rodney Ascher’s documentary The Nightmare it is when someone find themselves in the state between being awake and asleep. You’re awake but you can’t speak, move or react to anything around you. Even more terrifying, people who have experienced sleep paralysis have been known to experience hallucinations. The most common of which being intruders and feeling like someone, or something, is lying on your chest. Thankfully sleep paralysis typically only lasts less than a couple of minutes. But what if it didn’t? What if those creatures you thought you saw were real? That’s what we’re asked with the latest from Saban Films, Mara.

It’s a quiet night in Savannah, Georgia when tragedy suddenly strikes. Awoken by screams from her parent’s room young Sophie Wynsfield is terrified to discover her father, Matthew, brutally mangled. Sitting next to him is her traumatized mother, Helena. Assigned to the case is psychologist Kate Fuller (Olga Kurylenko) who thinks Helena murdered her husband when she blames a sleep demon named Mara. While Helena is committed Kate begins to second guess her decision when she begins to suffer from sleep paralysis herself and sees a monstrous figure from the corner for her eye.

Now this isn’t the first horror movie to mine the world of sleep disorders for terror. Recent movies like Dead Awake and Slumber dealt with sleep paralysis specifically while The Babadook and Nightmare Man have dealt with monsters that strike while you sleep. Not to mention the classic A Nightmare on Elm Street which dealt with both terrifying scenarios. Needless to say, there is a lot of competition in this particular subgenre. Thankfully Mara has a talented crew behind the scenes to help it stick out from the rest.

In his directorial debut Clive Tonge and writer Jonathan Frank are able to cleverly mix crime drama and the supernatural. And while there are elements similar to its peers (a clever mention of the case that inspired the Elm Street franchise comes to mind) it sticks out from the pack thanks to some really good character building. Due to its small core cast each character gets the chance to grow over the film’s brisk 99 minutes. Each of them feeling like fully formed characters with the most growth going to Kate Fuller, as portrayed by Olga Kurylenko.

Typically known as the femme fatale in movies such as Quantum of Solace and Hitman, Kurylenko gets to shows her more of her range as an actress as our horror heroine. Instead of the bad girl vibe she gives off in her other movies, Kurylenko is able to bring a vulnerability to the role we have never really seen from her before. At the same time as Dr. Fuller starts looking into Matthew’s past we watch as she slowly starts to lose her mind, a lack of sleep and paranoia taking its toll on her. Olga and the film’s makeup crew do a stellar job making it a gradual transformation.

The other standout performance comes from horror staple Javier Botet (REC, The Conjuring 2). Playing the demon Mara, the Spanish actor brings the kind of committed performance he is known for. His uniquely lanky body making normal tasks like standing and walking chilling with each movement. Unfortunately, Mara’s look isn’t up to par. Because while the glimpses we get of the costume look great, Mara’s design feels terribly generic. It is as if whoever designed Mara copy and pasted a generic evil hag and called it a day. Even worse, this kind of predictability that can be seen throughout the rest of the movie.

 

As mentioned earlier, Mara is fairly well written. Particularly for a smaller release like this. The problem is that you can pretty much predict everything that is going to happen. It’s like they had a checklist of everything they needed to happen in a supernatural movie and they made sure Mara hit them all. Tough but fair police chief? Check. A volatile, paranoid hermit that happens to be right? Check. A couple too many jump scares? Triple check. Needless to say, there won’t be any surprise twists for seasoned horror fans.

 

Despite its predictability I would still recommend Mara. Although it feels far too familiar Mara moves at a decent pace, it’s scares are well crafted and cinematographer Emil Topuzov is able to take scenes we have seen before and still provide some scary imagery. It may not be the most original horror movie to come out this year but for those looking for a fun, easy movie for a night in, Mara shouldn’t be slept on.

Rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

Mara is now in theaters and available on VOD/Digital HD

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Daisy Ridley Promises Epic Lightsaber Duel In ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

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“We in this film actually have perhaps one of the most epic fights in Star Wars.”

The lightsaber duel is a staple of Star Wars lore. Every episode has featured some of the most iconic battles in cinematic history. Many fans were disappointed with the lack of saber action in Episode VII, even though the film primarily focused on Rey trying to discover her true place within the universe. ‘The Last Jedi’ attempted to give us more action but was over shadowed by Director Rian Johnson’s character arc choices. Going into ‘Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’ J.J. Abrams knows what’s at stake, while bringing us the conclusion to one of the most beloved franchises in movie history. In a recent interview with Wired about Episode IX, Daisy Ridley shed some light on what we can expect in the final installment:

“The interesting thing about this film is that we concentrate more on the fact that [the lightsabers] are light,” Ridley told the publication, “Because the [old] lightsabers were so heavy, as Eunice [Huthart] said, who is our new stunt coordinator, that it was more like broadsword fighting, which isn’t technically what it’s supposed to be because lightsabers are supposed to be light, by nature.”

Since the “Skywalker” lightsaber that was a focal point in ‘Episode VII’ was destroyed during ‘The Last Jedi,’ it would appear that Rey will be getting herself a new “Lighter” saber. Daisy also, went on further to suggest we will be witnessing one of, if not the most epic Star Wars lightsaber duels of all time via Episode IX:

“So they actually made them lighter for us,”the actress continued “We in this film actually have perhaps one of the most epic fights in Star Wars.”

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ has a lot riding on it to properly conclude the “Skywalker Star Wars Saga.” J.J. Abrams is well aware of what’s at stake. One can only imagine that he will pull out all the stops to ensure one of the greatest endings in recent cinematic history.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019

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‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Brings Us New Images And Character Details

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“I don’t feel like I’m changing the mythology. I think it’s a continuation of the cause and effect”

The James Cameron produced ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has released new images, featuring the old school T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) doing what he does best. The photos also feature Mackenzie Davis who plays Grace a humanoid cyborg, and a new poster featuring the OG cast, Arnold and Linda Hamilton.

Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) is hoping to give fans a fresh look at the Terminator franchise, while keeping with the continuity of the old. He wants fans to understand the cause and effect principle that is constantly reshaping the future:

“I don’t feel like I’m changing the mythology. I think it’s a continuation of the cause and effect that [James Cameron] set up in the other Terminator movies, which is simply if you make a change in the past, it will change the future. So you have to expect that what happened before, or the history that Sarah had been told of the future, was going to change. I don’t look at it as changing mythology. I look at it as the natural outcome of the set of rules that Jim established in the first two movies.”

Arnold has returned as the T-800 in previous Terminator films, from ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,’ ‘Terminator: Salvation’ and ‘Terminator: Genisys’ which have all been met with tough fan criticism. This time around, Miller hopes to present the terminator in a new way, in which fans have yet to see:

“This version of Arnold is something that Jim has been thinking about for a long time. I think it’s a really great way for him to come back to the franchise. I understood the other movies and the way they handled him, but I didn’t want to do that again. I really thought that the way to do something unique for this film was to have Arnold’s backstory and the way he interacts with the rest of the characters be something we hadn’t seen from that character before… but I also think it has the expected amount of Arnold kicking ass.”

During a recent interview, Arnold was asked how he felt about this recent incarnation of the Terminator franchise and how he felt about the level of action this new film would provide:

“I would say [this movie] is huge action-wise. I was very satisfied with the ideas and the big action that this movie has. It’s really wild.”

‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ is set to hit theaters November 1, 2019

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The King’s Man | Official Trailer – HD

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Rating:

N/A

Release Date:

February 14, 2020

Director:

Matthew Vaughn

Cast:

Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ralph Fiennes, Djimon Hounsou

Plot Summary:

As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man must race against time to stop them.

 

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