The Maus (2017)

Director: Yayo Herrero
Starring: Alma Terzic, August Wittgenstein, Spain. 1h 30m

The Maus seems to want to be something dark and creepy with a character that is experiencing alternative timelines something like The Jacket (2005) blended with Silent Hill (2006), but with a deeper supernatural twist, but while it becomes evident as the movie progresses, it often falls short of its own thesis which is a tremendous shame as the story has a lot of prospects.

Starting with Maus AKA Selma (Terzic) whispering to her Muslim amulet the couple open their journey,stuck in the woods with a broken axle. It’s a bum situation but their problems are more than just broken machinery, things are about to get very confusing, dark and violent.

Yayo, much like David Lynch and similar directors is as much a piece of every part of this film as the film itself but the magic is that he dictates it to the audience in small snippets, some pieces of information are vital, others more obscure, but bit by bit you can piece together a dark story; if you pay close attention, read between the lines and have a very open mind, don’t mistake this for the film being complicated it’s pretty straight forward, but just fragmented.

Maus, is the affectionate name for Selma, the sole survivor of her family who were massacred in the Bosnian war. Their bodies had only recently been discovered in a mass grave, hence her trip to her motherland, to bury her family with all the traditions of their religion, Maus is pretty brave going back into enemy territory to perform these rituals for her family and while nervous and shook up possibly suffering from PTSD.

Obviously we’re fully aware this is a horror movie so now that this couple are lost in the woods, it’s hard not to keep scanning the background for clue or something sinister out there and if you’re lucky you will start to notice a dark shadow or figure, but it’s unclear what motive it has.

Selma is incredibly scared that landmines are still active in the area, but in total contrast her placid German lover Alex (Wittgenstein) is totally nonchalant about the situation, not spending much time out of the city he’s a bit gullible and way to laid back for the situation without having any sense of danger he does the opposite to everything his girlfriend suggests, which makes no sense, after all she managed to get out of a similar situation by the skin of her teeth, you’d think he’d mind her words a little bit more?

The pair eventually meet two locals who appear as friends trying to help but there’s something hidden behind their smiles, Selma is more attuned to their cunning she just can’t get the dangers through her boyfriends thick skull, he’s lead a bit of a charmed life and is too trusting. But things aren’t that simple here in the wild.

In one scene Selma falls to the floor as if she’s triggered a landmine, then one of their “helpers” takes the opportunity to molest the girl, but on waking up she injured and the “incident” didn’t happen but she moves on with caution.

The rest of the film sees the couple go through some really awkward violent moments, but then almost resetting and going at it again, but the only one with any memory of events is Maus. But it’s clear to the viewer, these two locals just can’t be trusted, and eventually after enough pain and torture Maus calls on her amulet for help and a dark deadly guardian answers. This is when the movie picks up, only briefly and this entity is terrifying but only had one brilliant scene.

I believe I can see where this film was aiming to go but it got lost along the trail much like this couple trying to get to safety.

Rating: 4/10

R: Mama (2013), November (2017),The Jacket (2005)


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