Mara (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus watches as Scandinavian horror uses busty ladies to hide the dullness.
Jenny (Angelica Jansson) recalls a recent tragedy with her group of friends in a secluded house in the woods but the more we find out, the more Jenny’s dark past may prove to be the cause of the massacre.
This low budget digitally shot horror has a purple tint to its snow coloured landscape and that remains throughout the film to varying degrees. Lighting it simple and textures are realistic because of it. Black levels are nice and deep and while the darker areas hide most of the detail it makes for a good all round image that punches above the weight of the films obvious budget constraints.
The darkness of the film hides most of the minimal set designs (especially in the not so convincing integration room) but the lit focal points look pretty good. Jenny's face is always well lit and natural and clothing, when under direct light is loaded with texture. The film plays well with darkness for the most part but often suffers form a lot of noise. There's not fear living in shadow and there’s a good range of black levels but the darker ones are usually pretty overbearing and blasts out of the detail in the frame.
Initially the film is all crunching footprints in the snow and tonal audio shifts between time frames or memories. Dialogue takes the forefront and incidental music disappears into the rears, offering a low rubble as a background element until it’s called on to shock. The film is largely quiet other than dramatic dialogue but the jumps do come in albeit pretty minimally with little real impact beyond the fact they are simply louder.
Behind the Scenes Documentary (74 mins) explains that the film was shot in just seven days, which is both impressive and explains a lot. We see a lot of filming, on set chats and raw footage and to keep you locked in the opening is what seems like extended footage of Jenny showering.
Casting Feature (03:56) shows meeting with the cast and some talk of the cast choices. This is expanded on with the 'Interview with Angelica Jansson' (03:07) after a screening of the film.
Last up is a selection of low budget horror trailers.
This film moves slowly as Jenny our lead being interrogated about what has occurred previously. Parents deaths, blood soaked clothes, old and new friends in the woods and lots of Jenny looking off with inward intensity as she recaps her plight. When the shocks do come it’s all a bit late and there’s nothing fresh about this tale at all.
Maraisn't all that good. Its basically a few pretty Scandinavian girls in various tight tops walking around a cabin with very little actually going on. Sure that makes for eye candy but like most candy its not very filling really. The disc is bog standard modern low budget, digitally shot stuff and the audio just about gets by. The extras aren't too bad though.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 13th January 2014
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digitsl 5.1 Swedish
Subtitles: Dolby Digitsl 5.1 Swedish
Extras: Behind the Scenes, Casting, Interviews Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Åke Gustafsson, Fredrik Hedberg, Jacob Kondrup
Cast: Angelica Jansson, Cecilia Samuelsson, Emelie Frantz Nilsson
Length: 77 minutes
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