Ma is a psychological horror thriller directed by Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up, The Girl on the Train) and stars the outstanding Octavia Spencer who portrays a lonely adult woman named Sue Ann, who becomes crazy obsessed with a group of teenagers after agreeing to buy the teens alcohol. Sue Ann is coined the nickname Ma after letting the kids use her basement as a place to party. Ma only has a few rules, the main one being not to go upstairs. The movie has some terrific suspenseful secrets unfold as you learn that this odd woman who enjoys the company of youngsters is not who she truly appears to be.
The film does a great job at keeping the audience’s attention by quickly putting the typical party kids in a weird situation that works out for them but it makes us, the audience, wonder, “Why in the world would this wacko lady let these teenagers do a bunch of illegal things in her home? Does Ma really just want friends? Or is there something more to this peculiar woman? If so, what is it? And what is Ma hiding upstairs?” Ma does what any great suspense movie should do by answering each question it poses with an interesting answer but yet poses another question to keep you on your toes.
The storytelling is creative as it doesn’t just play out from beginning to end. We dig into Sue Ann’s past through flashbacks which are extremely effective with communicating big ideas that explain why Ma is the way that she is and you understand her bizarre character very well. There isn’t a standout actor amongst the teenage group but each one plays their part convincingly well. The true star is not surprisingly Octavia Spencer. She is one of those few people who is always really fun to watch perform. From her voice, her mannerisms, facial expressions- Octavia Spencer’s weird character is brought to life by the natural abilities of the talented actress. Comedy is surprisingly fused throughout the entire screenplay and it hits almost every time. There’s several movies that don’t blend horror and comedy very well. Often times the comedy diffuses the tension or the particular jokes are not very funny. Ma is funny and at the correct times. There isn’t many moments of peril where the thrill is ruined by a misplaced joke. We don’t get a hard unpleasant break on the thrills and shoved into laughs we weren’t looking for. Instead, the film sleekly and smoothly eases between these tones creating a fun roller coaster of feelings to experience.
The movie has a lot to reveal. While the trailer does say a lot about the setup of the film, there is a lot of substance to uncover that was satisfyingly interesting!
There are some character choices that are very idiotic, especially considering something that Ma does in front of the kids very early on which would have freaked me out- kidding or not kidding- I was surprised with how easy they choose to continue to go back to her house despite her early actions. It’s somewhat forgiving as the film doesn’t portray these teens as the brightest colors in the box. While the film is engaging, some character choices seem to happen simply out of shock value. While effective, the choices seem a bit unrealistic at times, especially the finale that definitely gets heated near the end.
Despite this, I 100% recommend that you go check out this movie, as it successfully delivers suspense through a mesmerizing performance by Octavia Spencer and features a fun screenplay that creatively tells an intriguing story.
|Final Verdict:||Ma successfully delivers suspense through a mesmerizing performance by Octavia Spencer and features a fun screenplay that creatively tells an intriguing story.|