review by Bobby Blakey
Horror flicks are released all the time focusing on all sorts of subgenres with one of the most popular being that of hauntings. The latest comes from writer and director Iris K. Shim making her feature film debut with the film Umma starring Sandra Oh, Fivel Stewart, MeeWha Alana Lee, Tom Yi with Odeya Rush and Dermot Mulroney. Could this film bring the family terror to life or will it fail to find its final resting place?
Umma follows Amanda and her daughter living a quiet life on an American farm. When the remains of her estranged mother arrive from Korea, Amanda becomes haunted by the fear of turning into her.
I knew nothing of this film heading into it other than Sandra Oh’s involvement which had me interested to see how she handled this genre. She is really good here, but the film itself is pretty average at best. The story is simple and attempts to offer up a bit of mystery surrounding the coming terror, but it never really amounts to all that much. I dug the direction, but think it could have been crafted a bit differently to more embrace the life that is established for these characters.
The supporting cast is fine, but it is Sandra Oh’s show and she brings a great presence to the film that could have been so much better had she been given more depth. It isn’t a bad movie or anything and in fact does entertain, but it just never finds that element it needed to really bring home the scares. Where it does work is the traditional trauma that it deals with from her childhood. This is the most terrifying element due to its real life situation that might have been better to delve deeper into. This is the true nature to a lot of cultures and is a great catalyst for a film like this that will likely make the film connect with others much better.
In the end it was an ok film that has a strong base to set it all up, but never fully dives fully in to help it stand out. It’s far from scary and instead comes off more tense and generic. I have no doubt some will be all in for those one and I applaud Oh for her performance and the subject matter, but it just didn’t keep me fully invested.
Decide for yourself and check out Umma available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.