Umma Movie Review: Barely Scary

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Calling "Umma" a horror film at this day and age is a sin. This was barely scary and barely had any horror elements to support this claim. The only saving grace for "Umma" was Sandra Oh's stellar performance as a mother struggling to move on from her dark past. This film could have been a lot better as a psychological thriller without all the unrealized and undercooked supernatural elements.
Amanda (Sandra Oh) and her daughter Chrissy (Fivel Stewart) has lived a quiet life on a secluded American farm. Amanda suffers from a disorder wherein she believes electricity makes her sick. When the remains of her estranged mother arrive from Korea, Amanda becomes haunted by the fear of turning into her own mother as her daughter Chrissy considers leaving the farm for a chance to earn a college degree.
For a film that had us excited for its East Asian roots, "Umma" was simply an underwhelming experience. Not only as a horror showcase (because this was simply its weakest link). But even in its characterization, narrative, and development, the film just failed to build upon its untapped potential. Central to all the madness was the mother-daughter relationship or how Amanda struggles to have a relationship with her daughter Chrissy as she begins to be more independent. There should have been a lot of terrifying realities the film could have played on like how Amanda is slowly becoming her own mother or how a parent's love could be misunderstood as abuse. We're both parents and it's a terrifying thought that the film dips into but never develops further. There are a lot of thought-provoking ideas that the film throws at the audience but was forced to abandon to maintain the cheap scares.  
Rating: 1 and a half reels

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