Watch Umma

"A mother's love never dies"
  • PG-13
  • 2022
  • 1 hr 23 min
  • 4.7  (10,495)
  • 51

Released in 2022, Umma is an atmospheric horror film that taps into the complex themes of family ties, cultural identity, and the haunting grip of unresolved pasts. The film stars Sandra Oh, known for her powerful performances in both television and film, including the hit medical drama series "Grey's Anatomy" and the critically acclaimed spy thriller "Killing Eve." She is joined by a supporting cast that includes up-and-coming actress Fivel Stewart and the seasoned actor Dermot Mulroney, each bringing depth and nuance to their respective roles.

Umma, which means "mother" in Korean, tells the story of Amanda (played by Sandra Oh), a Korean-American woman living a quiet life on a remote farm with her daughter, Chris (played by Fivel Stewart). They maintain a simple, technology-free existence, raising bees and producing honey to make ends meet. Amanda's life is structured around her desire to provide a safe and peaceful environment for her daughter, away from the hustle and struggle of modern life. This rural seclusion also serves as a refuge from Amanda's own troubled past.

Amanda's estranged relationship with her own mother, who remained in Korea, is a source of deep-seated anxiety that she has worked hard to keep at bay. However, their relationship and the culture Amanda left behind become central to the story when her mother's death initiates a sequence of chilling events. Dermot Mulroney's character is key in bringing the news that sets the story in motion. His arrival signals the beginning of a disturbing unraveling of Amanda's carefully constructed life.

The death of Amanda's mother triggers the arrival of a mysterious package, inside which she finds the ashes of her deceased mother. It is with this eerie inheritance that the horror elements of Umma truly begin to manifest. The ashes bring more than just memories, as Amanda begins experiencing supernatural occurrences that leave her questioning her sanity. The presence seems to have a particular interest in Amanda and Chris, creating an ever-escalating tension between the two as the haunting intensifies.

Director Iris K. Shim weaves a tale that is as much about the psychological horror of confronting one's heritage and upbringing as it is about the supernatural. The film explores the pressures of generational trauma and the lengths to which people will go to break free from the ghosts of their pasts. Through the character of Amanda, the story delves into the conflict that arises between preserving one’s cultural legacy and embracing a new identity, particularly within the context of immigration and the mother-daughter dynamic.

Through its horror lens, Umma also examines the themes of guilt, obligation, and the chains of familial duty that can both bind and suffocate. The cultural specificities around filial piety and respect for one's parents are portrayed against the backdrop of a western setting, allowing the film to engage with the diasporic experience shared by many immigrants.

Sandra Oh's portrayal of Amanda is intense and emotionally driven, as she captures the internal struggle of a woman facing the fears that have long dictated her life. The audience witnesses her transformation from a protective and controlled mother to a person on the verge of losing grip on her reality. Fivel Stewart complements Oh's performance with a strong portrayal of Chris, a teenager who is beginning to push against her mother's overbearing love and concern, yearning for more knowledge about the world and her family's past.

The settings of Umma play a fundamental role in creating an ominous atmosphere. The isolation of the farm serves as the perfect canvas for the story, as vast fields and the buzzing of bees add to the unease that permeates the film. Cinematography that deftly captures the rural landscape juxtaposed with haunting metaphors heightens the sense of dread, as does the film's sound design, which carefully uses silence and whispering echoes to amplify the suspense.

Umma is more than just a straightforward ghost story; it attempts to carve out a space within the horror genre that speaks not only to fears of the supernatural but to the deep, sometimes dark complexities of family relationships and cultural legacies. It balances supernatural scares with thought-provoking themes, achieved through the performances of its leads and its deliberate narrative pacing.

The film offers audiences a reflection on the bonds with our roots, both the strength and the scars they can bring. As the story of Amanda and Chris unfolds, Umma becomes a compelling exploration of identity, motherhood, and the unyielding power of the past, all while delivering the chilling moments that genre enthusiasts crave.

Umma is a 2022 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.7 and a MetaScore of 51.

Where to Watch Umma
Umma is available to watch, stream, download and buy, rent on demand at Hulu, FX Networks, Google Play, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Umma for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 23 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.7  (10,495)
  • Metascore