This will undoubtedly be a pretty short review because quite honestly, there isn't a hell of a lot to say about this title. If you go into this expecting something very basic as far as haunting/possession movies go, you pretty much get just that. Nothing about this is surprising, there's no crazy twist ending that comes out of nowhere, and at the end of the day, it's gonna be forgotten and swept under the rug like so many of its kind before it.
Korean immigrants Amanda (Sandra Oh) and her daughter, Chris (Fivel Stewart) live a farm life of raising bees and chickens. They rely on much older technologies due to a trauma Amanda experienced at a young age involving electricity. I imagine this was also done because a lantern looks creepier than a flashlight. Anyway, one day Amanda is visited by her uncle (Tom Yi) who leaves her with the remains of her estranged mother. Amanda is warned not to open the briefcase that contains these remains, but of course, if she didn't, we wouldn't really have a movie.
In the meantime, Chris makes a new friend in a girl named River (Odeya Rush) and from that, she becomes a bit more distant from her mother. And since Amanda's mother was so strict, a big part of this is the play on Amanda fearing becoming her mother. Then it plays with the whole spiritual possession thing, and it just kind of coasts along without any really unexpected twists or turns. All in all, it struck me as the kind of under-the-radar title you might find near the bottom of a long list of suggestions Netflix would have to offer based on "ghost movies". You know, at that point in the list you scroll down to where you haven't heard of most of them.
I suppose if I was to really give the movie anything it would probably be Sandra Oh's performance. I'm not talking about Oscar-worthy material or anything, but one has to appreciate that she did a good job with what she had to work with. With that said, this is a pretty limited release all the same, so it doesn't seem to be taking itself as any sort of big deal either. So once again, we have a movie that's just kind of "there". The real draw for me was the fact that Sam Raimi's name was attached to it as producer, but it ended up being a good example of why "producer" is a credit to take with a grain of salt.
I have no doubt that this will end up on some sort of streaming platform soon enough, so even if you have the means to "big-screen" this experience, I strongly recommend holding off. And even then, I dunno how highly I'd recommend it to anyone. There are worse titles out there, to be sure, but this did feel about as basic as a haunting/possession movie can be, and any symbolism behind it is painfully obvious... but perhaps it's supposed to be since "Umma" translates to "Mother" which, even as a title feels somewhat unoriginal at this point. How many "mom-related" horror/thriller titles are there out there?