Grimmfest Review: Mara


Memory is a fragile thing. Anyone with friends or relatives who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s know just how painfully true this can be. On the other hand, those suffering from trauma or grief may gladly surrender certain events from their recollection. It’s an area which intrigues science fiction filmmakers, creating such wonderful cinema as Strange Days, Total Recall, Dark City and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Mara is another intriguing entry.

Andrey’s (Semyon Serzin) marriage is in tatters following a violent home invasion. His wife Olga (Marina Vasileva) is unable to cope with the trauma, retreating into herself. In a desperate bid to piece their lives back together, he approaches a psychic, Mara (Aleksandra Revenko), for help. Her treatment works like a charm, but whilst the couple initially enjoy a second honeymoon it soon becomes clear that it’s too good to be true.  

Using Slavic folklore and Russian myths and legends at its core, Mara is a strange and beguiling tale of male wish-fulfilment and demonic possession. Aleksey Kazakov’s film is a slick and stylish fantasy horror which plays with a number of themes and ideas to create a strikingly vivid nightmare. Whilst not everything meshes together, it’s a hallucinatory journey into the abyss. Mara is deliciously delightful genre cinema. Be careful what you witch for.

Mara screens at Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights.  

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