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Umma - Review

Umma, written and directed by Iris K. Shim, is a horror drama starring Sandra Oh as Amanda. The movie explores the cyclical nature of childhood and parenthood. Amanda haunted by her past and how her mother treated her vowed to never be like her mother but finds out how much in common they are.

Remembering the mistreatment she had to endure as a child from Umma she decided to give up all aspects of her old life including her name and the use of electricity (because Umma used electricity to punish her). She raised her daughter Chris, played by Fivel Stewart, by herself and believed that she gave her daughter everything she ever wanted. The movie kicks off when Amanda receives news. that her mother past away and was given her belongings. Though she tried to keep away from her korean heritage, there was no way to avoid it as Umma's wishes was for Amanda to perform the Jesa ritual (a ritual that functions as a memorial to the ancestors of the participants). This causes her to not only have to confront her past demons and reflect on her relationship with her umma but also to take a look at her current issues and her relationship her daughter.


So I did like how the movie didn't follow heavily on the paranormal horror tropes with countless jump scares that lead nowhere but instead utilized lighting and tone to give a feeling of extended unease and tension. However I left the theater questioning could this really be considered a horror. The only death was the death of Umma but that was off screen and needed to drive the plot. People didn't care for the beekeeping aspect but I like how it was used as a binding of the relationship between Amanda and Chris. I do feel the thrid act climax felt rushed as they added concepts in the movie didn't build to or even really reference like the kumiho monster. And just as fast as everything built up it was resolved. In total I think it is a slow paced movie, its not that I wouldn't recommend it but its definitely not a movie for everyone and has its target audience.



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