REVIEW — “Ma”
In Ma, the newest horror-thriller from Blumhouse written by Scotty Landes and directed by Tate Taylor, Octavia Spencer plays Sue Ann, a lonely woman who comes into contact with a group of teenagers when she is propositioned to buy alcohol for them. She’s reluctant at first but is soon won over once she finds out they will be drinking at the place she used to go to in high school for the same reason. This same encounter happens again but this time after handing off the alcohol, she suggests that the teens use her basement to party in. They agree and this basement soon becomes the party spot of the town, with tons of other high school students using it every weekend. They give Sue Ann the endearing nickname “Ma” and Ma parties right alongside them. However, things soon start to spin out of control and the group of teens starts to question what Ma’s intentions really are.
Octavia Spencer gives an incredible performance as Ma, perfectly showing the wide range of emotions her character possesses, from newfound joy to unexpected rage to more vulnerable moments, where we can see the sadness that lies at her core. Juliette Lewis, who plays new girl Maggie’s mother, also has many great moments. The actors that play the teenagers did a great job as well, particularly with the humor, but a lot of them weren’t given enough characterization to make them memorable in the long run. There were a few characters that made their mark with very little screen time, including Missi Pyle as Mercedes, Allison Janney as Doctor Brooks, and Dominic Burgess as Stu, that I think added a lot of great comedic moments and gave insight into the dynamic characters that live in the small town.
I’ve been following the marketing for Ma as soon as the trailer was released and have been loving all of the memes that have come from it by people on Twitter, so seeing the moments in the movie that were popular in memes (ex: Ma saying “Don’t make me drink alone!” and asking “Are you guys mad at me or something?”) was hilarious and rewarding. Because I was so familiar with the promotional material, I knew what I was getting myself into and the movie delivered pretty much exactly what I thought it would, save for a few surprising moments and an incredible jump scare.
I recommend going to see Ma in a crowded theater or with friends that you know will like participating in the crowd reactions. As someone who normally isn’t a fan of this, I really enjoyed laughing, yelling, and gasping along with everyone else in the theater and thought it really added to the experience.