12th Feb2014

‘Mara’ DVD Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Angelica Jansson, Cecilia Samuelsson, Emelie Frantz Nilsson, Martin Brandt, Philip Hansell, Mia Möller, P.O. Möller, Pidde Andersson | Written and Directed by Jacob Kondrup, Ake Gustadsson, Fredrik Hedberg

Mara-DVD

Three first time directors, Jacob Kondrup, Ake Gustadsson and Fredrik Hedberg, who also penned this film, have created an unusual little horror movie here, in the guise of Mara, a Swedish psychological horror.

The story follows a group of friends who head to an isolated cottage in the Swedish forest and their getaway, as is frequent with these things, becomes a sinister journey filled with bad things. One of the friends in question is attempting to confront her past and in doing so comes into contact with evil beyond her imagination.

The film looks fine, and the acting isn’t too bad, but it is predictable stuff and tries, yet fails, on many occasions to appear original and almost art-house in it’s cinematography, which caused the whole film to seem a bit uneven and like the creators didn’t really know what they wanted to do so they opted to try to impress with style over substance. Sadly, the style and the substance is lacking here.

It isn’t a horrible film, but it just isn’t very good either. The score is decent, and the directors show a sense of wanting to be original with the look of the film, but it feels a little too “been there, done that” to truly break any mould. Mara is a short film, and it was made on a very slim budget, and when you remember that it is much easier to respect what the creators of “Mara” have done here, but the “cottage and cabin in woodland followed by evil happenings” thing has been done on so many occasions, and so much better, that it’s easy to just write this off as a poor attempt at an all too familiar premise.

There is a nice feature documentary on the making of the film included on the DVD release which is worth a watch, and you might enjoy the artistic style which the film-makers have adopted, so it isn’t completely worth ignoring, depending on what you look for in your horror flicks.

Mara is available on DVD now, through 88 Films.

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