Mara— My take on the movie with spoilers!
The weird thing about horror writers (me included) is that we try to find a way to twist ordinary things into something that can give others the jitters. And sometimes, when horror writers run out of ideas, the easiest way to overcome that writer's block is to simply flip the things that other people consider as simple, good and pure.
After all, the antonym of good is evil.
Which is why there will always be little girls cast to play the possessed or evil. Or why dolls are made evil. Literally everything we take for granted, can be twisted into something evil.
All that was left was sleeping.
Imagine not being able to sleep, not because you would be hounded by a man in a red and black striped sweater who has knives for fingers. No, Mara brings in a new terror: sleep and you won't be able to move and have to helplessly watch a creature suck your soul out.
Mara is about a creature, made to look like a tall, lanky woman, who becomes visible only when someone experiences sleep paralysis. Then she kills and distorts the person's face.
A woman is accused of killing her husband. The only witness, their daughter. When detective Kate arrives at the scene, she assumes the obvious. She gets the youn daughter to talk to her and decides that the woman's claim of a creature attacking her husband must be a product of her hallucination. She is sent to the institution and begs that she doesn't want to sleep.
Kate doesn't take her seriously. Soon after, the lack of evidence clears the wife and she is free to leave the institute and unite with her daughter. Kate, who becomes attached to the girl, is happy to give her some good news. But uh-oh, the wife had been out to sleep and when Kate finds her, her face is distorted exactly like the husband's.
Nobody can figure out why but at this point, Kate realizes the rumors are true. And also that Mara attacks those who blame themselves for something wrong that has gone in their lives and carry that guilt with them. It usually also involves them being responsible for someone's death.
Kate's investigations lead her to various people who have been marked Mara which is a red mark in their eye.
Not surprisingly, Kate ends up with one too and experiences bouts of sleep paralysis.
In the end she realizes that she has been carrying the guilt of institutionalizing the wife and separating her daughter. The daughter in the meantime, blames herself for confiding in Kate about her mother and her subsequent death.
Kate rushes to the girl and promises that it wasn't her fault. Mara is banished.
Kate wakes up to find herself free from sleep paralysis. Everything is alright. Or so it seems.
The next instant, Mara is lunging at her.
There have been plenty of movies in the last five years on the same theme. While Mara is flawed and a bit tedious, it is earnest in it's attempt to be a horror movie, and is therefore a better viewing experience than the others. There are some creepy scenes and thankfully not many jump scares.
An interesting watch for a long afternoon.