Umma is Korean for mother. In this film, Amanda (Sandra Oh) lives with her teenage daughter, Chris (Fival Stewart), on a remote farm where the harvest honey. Amanda is afraid of electricity as it carries with it horrifying visions of her mother so she lives off the grid. No cell phones. No electricity. When her Korean uncle appears with her mother’s remains, Amanda starts seeing her visions of her mother. Chris begins to realize that something is terribly wrong even as she tries to apply to college so she can leave the farm. Amanda must come to terms with her mother’s ancestral anger at her and regain control of her life, or be consumed by it.
I’ve always wanted more Sandra Oh in my life. I’ve always loved watching her act. From Grey’s Anatomy to Sideways to Killing Eve, she is my favorite part of any project she is part of. Umma is not exception, though Fival Stewart brings a lot to the table with her. It’ is proof that we need more of Sandra Oh in the horror genre.
This film, directed by Iris K. Shim, brings a lot of atmosphere in a remote location. It starts off with the sun shining, but as Amanda’s mental state deteriorates along with the relationship with her daughter, the film darkens with the shadows of night. Truly a brilliant way to shoot the film and it works well with the Asian influences that Amanda fought so hard to move on from before her mother’s death.
If you enjoy a good atmospheric horror film, then Umma is the perfect choice. A moody film that carries the weight of history that one woman worked so hard to bury so she wouldn’t become her mother. Even after her mother’s death, the struggle became something she had yet to overcome.
Umma gets my highest recommendation.