In an attempt to move on from her horrible past, Jenny is told by her psychiatrist to go back to the place of the incident - to where her mother killed her father. She and a few of her friends go to the house she used to live in, and she soon realizes that maybe her mother is back...
When I went into "Mara" I knew full well that it'd probably be a rather poor horror film. First of all it hasn't gotten very good reviews. Though that doesn't have to mean it's bad, it didn't higher my expectations. And then second, it's a Swedish horror movie. Sweden does one thing in their horror - they copy whatever American cliché they can remember. For whatever reason, it seems rare for us to come up with a new, fresh horror idea. There are clearly exceptions, but looking at older movies like "Blödaren", "Blood Tracks" and "Besökarna", and newer ones like "Insane", "Psalm 21" or "Vittra", it's just a bunch of recycled ideas. Hell, even in the current low-to-no budget stuff like "Die Zombiejäger", "Sektor 236" and "House of Orphans" it's just tired old ideas that they hope to freshen up. They don't, really. It doesn't mean that they are all bad movies: I love "Besökarna" and neither of the three I mentioned under "newer" are terrible. But they are just doing the same old stuff, that's for sure. "Mara" fits perfectly into all of this, as it's yet another psychological horror/semi-slasher with twist upon twist in the end.
After having witnessed her mother killing her father, Jenny can't seem to let go of her past. She loved her father deeply, and having lost him because of her bitch mother is torturing her many years later. Her psychiatrist orders her to visit the house where it all happened, in hopes that it might help her move on. But she doesn't want to go alone, so she brings some friends and make a weekend out of it. As you do, when you want to get over the trauma of seeing your mother stab your father 50+ times. As night comes, Jenny believes she is seeing her mother, but can't figure out how that's possible as she's still locked in an institution. However, when Jenny wakes up the next day, all of her friends are gone and some strange things start to happen.
The movie actually starts with a police interrogation happening after the events with her friends, and through-out the movie it jumps back to this interrogation. Not a superb idea, but I didn't really mind it - I guess for the ending they wanted, they had to do this to give some specific details. If only they wouldn't mess up the ending the way they did, first by trying to twist it over and over again, but then by overexplaining the fucking twists to us as if we are retarded. And it's not like the twists are new (what twists are, though? Unless the movie ends with the killer being a banana, I doubt it's new). "Mara" is a bad movie. It is. It doesn't attempt anything new, at all. But going into it with such low expectations helped it become at least bareable. I have seen way worse from this country, and I sure as hell have felt more tortured through a viewing.
The movie doesn't get any better when the acting is of rather low standard either. Again, Swedish movies often suffer of this, but still. The actors are simply not good or very interesting to watch. The only one that ever really does the part decently is Angelica Jansson as the lead. Even though she never shines, she's acting next to people way below her skills and that makes her come out way superior. Angelica is a model and I guess she wanted to try acting - considering how poor many models are at it, she's not off to a shitty start. A few more movies and she could be acceptable, as she at least seems to have the ability to act out an emotion unlike way too many others in Swedish movies.
There are some attempts at style and being creepy, but like most of the movie it comes off as cheap. But after having read some reviews, I honestly expected even less from this. It's a really bad movie, though, so you should probably only watch this for two reasons: you want to watch Swedish horror, or you're a fan of Angelica's modelling. Either way, keep your expectations way low if you want to remain sane through the stupid twists, long interrogations with way too much detail to help the viewer understand, poorly written dialogue, overall bad acting and basically everything else.