[Review] Ma 2019
Ma is a bit of a sad story about a lonely middle-aged woman who befriends some teenagers and decides to let them party and hang out in the basement of her home. But there are some house rules: One of the kids has to stay sober, don’t curse, and never go upstairs. They must also refer to her as Ma. But as Ma’s hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, what began as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare, and the home of Ma goes from the best place in town to the worst place on Earth.
Ma begins with a U-Haul trailer being towed by newly divorced mom Erica (Juliette Lewis) and her 16-year-old daughter Maggie (Diana Silvers) who looks completely bored as they drive into a small town in Ohio. Erica, who recently left her husband is returning back to her suburban home town that she left years ago when she first moved to California. Maggie has lived her entire life in California and this is her first visit to her mom’s old stomping grounds, and so far, she’s not impressed at all and resents the fact that they can no longer afford to live in San Diego.
Erica quickly finds a job at a nearby casino in town and soon finds herself overworked by the long hard hours. Meanwhile, Maggie attends the local high school and meets some kids whose only excitement smoking and drinking booze at the rock quarry, because there’s nothing else to do. One day she gets invited to go with them and later that afternoon, she cruises with her new friends to the liquor store, where they are seen begging various adults to buy them liquor. They are surprised when one of them, a black woman in medical scrubs named Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer), takes them up on their request and actually agrees to buy them what they want.
Sue Ann works as a veterinary tech at the animal clinic across town. At first Sue Ann seems like a harmless (if a bit odd) townsperson after she delivers the booze back to the kid’s van. She notices a company name and logo printed on the side and she just stops and stares at it with a blank and empty face. She snaps out of it, smiles and tells the kids to be safe as they load up to leave.
Once at the quarry, Sue Ann anonymously reports the teens’ activities. As they all sit around drinking, the local sheriff drives up and makes them leave without doing anything to them because of his dislike for Andy’s father when they went to high school.
The next weekend the kids suspiciously run into Sue Ann again, and she once more agrees to buy their alcohol but then goes on to convince them that she would feel so much better if she knew they were not driving around while drinking and offers to let them drink and hang out in her basement. Maggie and her friends jump at the chance. And when their host asks them to call her Ma, well, why not?
It’s not long before many other kinds start showing up to hang out. Kids from other schools also show up at Ma’s house parties, making her the most popular person among the teens. Once she has everyone’s trust, things start taking a more bizarre and deadly turn, and we find out the exact reason why Ma has taken these teens under her protective and loving wing.
Octavia Spencer has claimed in many interviews that she agreed to take the lead role of Ma for a reunion with Tate Taylor, who directed her in his movie, “The Help” because it offered her a big chance to appear in a horror movie which was different from the others since “black people always die within the first 15 minutes.” She also cites another reason for taking on the role of Ma was that she’d be able to kill people, another rarity for a black woman in a film.
Spencer sites this comment from experience, as her character didn’t make it out of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II alive. An interesting fact is the part of Sue Ann in ‘Ma’ was originally supposed to be a white female, but Taylor changed that.
All in all, Ma wasn’t a bad movie, I rather enjoyed it all the way. It’s sort of sad to watch, and you find yourself not being able to hate Ma no matter what she does, she’s a very damaged woman whose traumas from childhood had a huge effect on her mental stability and eventually seeks revenge on her childhood tormentors by going after their kids and them. I found the movie to be creepy and menacing, just like it’s supposed to be.
The acting from all the players was done very well in my opinion, but Spencer truly stole the show. She was simply fantastic. It’s not really as much of a horror, as it is a good psychological thriller, but you know how Hollywood lumps everything together. Definitely worth a watch, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this as much as I did…just go in not expecting anything but a fun time and you’ll come out satisfied.
Release Date: May 31, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Studio: Blumhouse Productions
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis
MPAA Rated: R
Director(s): Tate Taylor
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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