Coming to Bluray and Digital from writer director Iris K. Shim and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of mother-daughter relationships with UMMA.
Amanda (Sandrah Oh) and daughter Chrissy (Fivel Stewart) lived on a secluded farm together. Mother and daughter made their living with a bee farm and sold their honey. The house was void of anything that had to do with electricity as Amanda would become sick. Mother and daughter seemed very happy with their life.
That is until Amanda receives an unexpected visit from an uncle from Korea with news that her mother Umma (MeeWha Alana Lee) had passed. There is obvious anger between the two relatives as he leaves a suitcase behind with her mother’s ashes. Almost immediately there is anxiety from Amanda remembering the situation of her own growing up that she has kept from Chrissy.
Within days, Amanda finds an application to go away to college that Chrissy didn’t tell her about and finds out it is family friend Danny (Dermot Mulroney) knew. That is not all, Amanda begins to see an angry Umma spirit and realizes that her own mother is trying to become part of her life and being – literally.
Explaining to Chrissy about Umma and her Korean ancestry, the young girl thinks her mother is not in her right mind. That is until she sees the power for herself as a confrontation finally happens and its time to make it all stop.
Oh as Amanda has come to live a very quiet life and with daughter Chrissy she feels it has been a good and safe life, but we all know you can not hide forever. Once Uncle shows up, it is game on and the relationship she has been running from is on her doorstep. Oh plays it straight and frightening going through her past that has led the family to right now.
Stewart as Chrissy has been happy with her life, but the teenage years are starting to bring on those feelings. College, friendship and having a life outside of the house is where her thinking is now, especially when ‘grandma’ comes into the house. Stewart gives us a teenager that is not whiny, entitled or disrespectful but instead a kid who is levelheaded and trying to figure it all out – even if she begins to see a different world.
Mulroney as Danny is trying to be a family friend without overstepping. He sees that Amanda is going through something and at the same time Chrissy is trying to have a life beyond the bees. Not a large role but more of a go-between mother and daughter.
Other cast include Odeya Rush as River and Tom Yi as Uncle.
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UMMA is a story of a family history from the Korean culture. Oh’s character is running from those things, even going so far as to change her name, but family is family. This is more of a thriller than a horror film and I prefer that more than anything. The spooks and jumps make a film worth it all and UMMA puts in her reasons to jump!
Keeping the cast small allows the viewer to become invested in the characters and become really interested in where the story is taking us. UMMA is actually Korean for ‘mum’ so you know exactly what you are getting.
In the end – a Mother’s love never dies!