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Cast: Olga Kurylenko​ ​(The Death of Stalin, Oblivion, Vampire Academy), Javier Botet​ (It, Slender Man, Insidious: The Last Key)​ and ​Mitch Eakins​ (Glory Road, Evil Bong​)

Director: Clive Tonge

Genre: Horror

Year: 2018

Rating: R

After a man is seemingly strangled in his bed, criminal psychologist Kate Fuller (Olga Kurylenko) interviews the sole witness, the victim’s eight-year-old daughter, Sophie. When asked to identify the killer, Sophie says, “Mara.” As Kate digs into the case, she unearths a community of people who claim to be tormented by a shadowy menace, a centuries-old demon who kills her victims as they sleep.

'Mara' tells the story of Kate Fuller, a rookie criminal psychologist who has been given her first case that involves the possible murder of a man by his wife while in bed. The only witness to it is their daughter, Sophie who was asleep at the time but was woken by strange noises and hearing screams from her mother. While investigating Kate interviews’ both Sophie and her mother and both claim the sleep demon, Mara killed the man.

After finding out that the husband was part of a group for sleep paralysis Kate decides to go sit in on one of the meetings and quickly finds out that there are more people that have seen Mara. Dougie is one of them who claims that Mara marks her victims with a bruise in the lower part of the eye which means she is coming to kill you. Around this time Kate herself starts having the same symptoms as the others. Now she must figure out why Mara is attacking these seemingly random amount of people and try to stop her before the demon kills herself and Sophie.

'Mara' wastes no time getting down to business. Right from the opening scene you are hooked and want to know more about sleep paralysis and this sleep demon that many believe they have seen. Sleep paralysis alone is pretty scary stuff. I myself have never had it happen to me but the film claims that over 40% of the world's population suffers from sleep paralysis and two thirds of them claim to be attacked by some sort of demon so it indeed is some pretty scary stuff and toss a supernatural tale around it and you have a film that will leave you with nightmares.

I am not going to go into any more plot details here so not to ruin the film's secrets but I will say that the more the film moves along the more the suspense builds and the mystery thickens. The film hides most of its secrets until the final act which keeps the audience engaged the entire time.

Another thing that made the film so effective was the cast, everyone in the film did a fantastic job but there are a few actors that stood out. Olga Kurylenko was amazing as Kate. She handled her complex character with ease. Another highlight was young Mackenzie Imsand who gave a realistic performance as Sophie. And last but not least and the highlight of the cast to me was Craig Conway who was fantastic as Dougie, a man on the edge of insanity over not allowing himself to sleep. I must also mention Director, Clive Tonge who did a fantastic directing the film and giving it its pace, mood and atmosphere. This is Clive Tonge feature film debut as a director which makes the film that much more effective.

The film will be in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD on September 7, 2018. After watching the film I am a bit disappointed that it didn’t get a wider release and a bigger push. 'Mara' has an intriguing and frightening story and it tosses in a number of jump scares along the way to keep you cowering in your chair. It is an effective horror film that scares the shit out of the may never sleep again.

Released by Saban Films

**** 1/2 Out Of *****