Sandra Oh’s Horror Film Umma Shows Fans the New Face of Fear in Exclusive Footage

The horror genre has welcomed several first-time feature filmmakers, usually because no matter what kind of story they want to tell (suburban bigotry in Jordan Peele get outthe panic of isolation at Sam Raimi evil Dead), you can find a portal through fear. Iris Shim knew her first screenplay was going to be a genre exercise. What she hadn’t expected was that the next horror drama Ouma would delve so deeply into her personal experiences in a mother-daughter relationship that also analyzed the situation of Korean-American families.

The result, Ouma, hits theaters March 18 and is distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. In the movie, Kill EveSandra Oh (pictured above) plays a protective mother living on a rural farm with her daughter who must adjust her lifestyle when her recently deceased mother’s ashes are hand-delivered to their location. The title has special meaning for Iris Shim, who is making her feature film directorial debut from a script she crafted over two years. As she told CinemaBlend in an exclusive interview:

Umma is the Korean word for mother. That’s what I call my mother. There are obviously a lot of movies about mothers and motherhood, (but) for me, I’ve never had the experience of watching a movie that explored that theme the way I’ve always experienced and seen it. That specificity of seeing a character on screen, saying the same words that I use when I talk to my mom, that’s the part that I really wanted to try to keep. I have to give credit to Sony for keeping the title. … I think what’s so fascinating about language is that the sound “ma” is so common in the word mother, and in so many different languages. It’s so universal that even though it’s the specific Korean word for mother, it still sounds universal when talking about motherhood.

I’m not sure the mother in this movie is the one you want to hang around, though. As you can see in the new trailer for Ouma who dropped, Sandra Oh’s character begins to behave quite differently once her mother’s remains arrive at the farm. What will be the explanation for this behavior?

Sony also provided us with this exclusive image, showing some striking masks that will present audiences with a new face of fear. When we asked Iris Shim about the significance of the masks as to how they relate to Oumashe once again traced her writing back to her childhood, explaining:

So it’s called a Tal. And that’s something I would see in my house growing up. My parents would have this framed wall art with these tiny little wooden replicas of these masks. And I had no idea what it was. Honestly, I never even really asked my parents, “Oh, what is this?” For me, it was always a kind of decoration. … But then when I started thinking about Korean imagery that really connects me to a long-standing tradition that I just had no awareness of – and the more I started researching – I started realizing, “Oh, these masks have a very, very rich history. … It was a really fun process, being able to learn about my culture and traditions.

Fivel Stewart in Umma

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

I know these masks will be bad news for the characters of Oumabut we will have to wait until March 18 to see what awaits Sandra Oh and Fivel Stewart. Ouma is directed by Iris Shim, produced by Sam Raimi (who was an excellent choice to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), and is one of many upcoming movie releases in 2022, especially a ton of upcoming horror movies, that you need to have on your radar.