“Mara is real! She is evil, and she will kill all of us!” As a woman named Mara, I am delighted by this line about the titular demon of this film.
MARA is about sleep paralysis. Sufferers of this sleep disorder describe having the sensation of being paralyzed upon awaking or falling asleep. The affected cannot speak or move for a couple of minutes and it can be very terrifying! Some people even report a feeling of being choked or held down. This is a harmless yet frightening phenomenon. But what if it was actually the work of a sleep demon named Mara?
The film begins with a man found dead in bed in his home. He is strangled, his face is contorted in fear and his body is bent awkwardly. His wife insists that after suffering from sleep paralysis the past few months, he was finally killed by a sleep demon who had been causing the man’s sleep disorder the entire time. She is sent to a psychiatric home, separated from her daughter, yet still she insists that her husband was killed by Mara.
In spite of the detective who believes this is an open and shut case of a delusional psychopathic killer, psychologist Dr. Kate Fuller is curious enough to investigate. She is eventually led to Dougie, another person afflicted by Mara, and together they search for clues. Why does Mara mark some of her victims and then eventually kill them and why only at certain times in history? In the meantime, they have both been marked, so they cannot fall sleep until they stop her!
Not only do I share the name of the demon in the movie, but I also have had experiences with sleep paralysis. It can be truly horrific and the idea of the supernatural being involved in this scary moment makes this an extremely eerie movie. To watch Dr. Fuller unravel the history and mystery of Mara is fascinating. When she finally uncovers the secret to the patterns of why and when Mara chooses her victims, she reveals a powerful message about dealing with one of the hardest parts of the human condition.
Scenes with Mara are what you would expect from something nightmarish- she is oddly shaped, has scraggly hair and is mostly in the shadows. The mood is reminiscent of Japanese horror.
MARA will be in theaters and On Demand/Digital HD September 7. Mara has marked you… don’t fall asleep!