Umma (Blu-ray)

Amanda and her daughter live a quiet life on an American farm, but when the remains of her estranged mother arrive from Korea, Amanda becomes haunted by the fear of turning into her own mother.

May 18, 2022 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I have to admit that I’ve gotten out of sync when it comes to theatrical releases and home video releases. With streaming services becoming more and more popular, the line between a bona fide theatrical release and its home video counterpart is becoming increasingly blurred. Such is the case with Umma starring Sandra Oh. I don’t really remember seeing any trailers for it and, since I don’t go to the movies anymore, I could have easily missed this. Generally-speaking, I’m a fan of horror so when I did get the home video solicitation, I was looking forward to it. Having never heard of director Iris K. Shim, I didn’t really know what to expect. But hey, life is all about trying new things – so here we go…

Amanda (Sandra Oh) lives an isolated life where she lives in, literally, the middle of nowhere. She, along with her daughter Chris (Fivel Stewart) run a large bee colony. A friend of the family (Dermot Mulroney) helps them sell the honey on the internet and Amanda relies on his help due to her abnormal fear of electricity. This has interfered in Chris’ social life as she’s been home-schooled and now wants to attend college. This terrifies Amanda. Amanda’s uncle stops by for a visit to tell her that her father has passed. He also passes along her possessions at which point things start to happen…I won’t give away the remainder of the plot, but suffice it to say that’s when the film takes a turn.

I’m trying to formulate the best way to convey my feelings on this one. I liked the film and its premise, but there were just a few things that bothered me. First of all, the running time; at 83 minutes it’s hard to become truly invested in the characters. Granted, we don’t need a three hour film, but this felt more like an extended episode of a television series. Next, the plot was a bit “been there, done that” and Amanda’s fear of electricity was eerily reminiscent of Michael McKean’s character on Better Call Saul. I will say that Sandra Oh’s performance is a saving grace, not that any number of actresses couldn’t have done the same, but fans of the actress will enjoy this one. It’s a bit forgettable, but not a total waste of time either.

Video: How’s it look?

Given the tone and nature of the film, it’s a safe bet that this movie will be on the darker side of the spectrum. And if you did bet, you’d be right. Umma comes to disc sporting a nice-looking 2.39:1 AVC HD encode. And, being a new to Blu-ray film, we can expect all the usual boxes to be checked with tack sharp detail, strong colors and bold contrast. Color depth was impressive as well. While it’s not one that’ll utilize the more “colorful” end of the spectrum, this is fitting for the film and its tone. Nothing to complain about here.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The included DTS HD Master Audio mix (sorry, no Atmos to be found here) has a few opportunities to stretch its legs. There are a few room-filling moments where the LFE were spot on. The dynamic range is a bit limited, but nothing that I’d consider to be “bad” by any means. Vocals are a bit on the softer side, though it might just be the way I’ve got my setup. It’s a fairly by-the-book mix that’s sure to please and a nice compliment to the film.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The disc is lacking any features – not even a trailer.

The Bottom Line

Umma isn’t a total waste of time, what’s good about it nearly outweighs what’s bad/predictable about it. Sandra Oh turns in a decent performance as well. Sony’s disc, though it looks and sounds good, is lacking any features so it makes this disc a really hard sell.

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