Director: Tate Taylor
Writer: Scotty Landes
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, Luke Evans, and more.
Poster from http://www.impawards.com/2019/ma_ver2.html
With this post, I present a review on a movie that I did not know if I would be catching it in theaters or not. “Ma” is a horror/thriller starring the immaculate Octavia Spencer. The Blumhouse produced film seemed to be interesting to me once I caught the trailer in theaters but did not have me exactly head over heels in anticipation of seeing it. Luckily, I found the opportunity to catch this in time and deliver you all a proper Oberrated review!
“A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.”
I must admit, “Ma” is my shocker of the year thus far into 2019. I figured I could fall in favor of them film once I saw it but just as easily I could have been incredibly disappointed in it. I mean, c’mon, this film somehow got Octavia Spencer to sign on for a horror/thriller. That is wild in and of itself. Upon finishing this film, I was in great appreciation of Spencer as I typically am when finishing one of her films. Beyond her, I was truly impressed by all the surrounding elements of “Ma”. Elements like the characters and the stereotypes that they fill, the horror/thriller vibes that were projected, and lastly the straight and to the point direction in delivering the film.
First off, the characters in this film impress me not due to the intricacy of them nor are they the most developed characters but instead they are cut and dry in their presentation. The kids are present day kids. The parents are either nice and/or despicable as is, and Octavia is a modern day psychopath. For me, there is no questioning who is who, which brought the attention to focusing on the hell situation Ma was creating.
The overall horror/thriller story of the film, I feel, is done well for a small budget flick. On one end, “Ma” is downright creepy and shocking in all the proper ways. From a lonely adult woman strangely following around teenagers, to some dirty little secrets being hidden away from characters in the film, to the absolute horrific scenes presented. “Ma” dials up a proper thriller in under two hours.
Honestly, sign me up for any Oscar award winning actor playing a horror/thriller villain any day. Octavia is easily the most alluring piece of the Blumhouse piece that is “Ma”. Aside from her performance, she is surrounded by all the proper elements to make a short and effective thriller film. While the film is as predictable as they come (I predicted the plot from the trailers) and the teenagers of the film are as cut and dry as they can be, it is still an absolute entertaining ride from start to finish. I may like this film more than most but it is without a doubt one of my favorite surprises of 2019.
- Octavia’s ability to seamlessly transition emotions is chilling.
- Luke Evans plays a proper douchebag.
- The shock-value of the film is another quality element.
- The scene between Octavia Spencer and Jinny Patterson (The nail salon patron) is without a doubt my favorite scene in the film.
So here is something new I am trying! As I like to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible to attract the most readers. I find myself restricted to projecting my full response to movies I watch and review. So I am now going to add a spoiler section down below the main review for those who have either watched the film or just simply don’t care and want a full Oberrated unfiltered response. I will also try to keep these quick and concise cause if you are one to read both, I don’t want to take too much of your time! So here we go, the spoiler section for the horror/thriller “Ma”!
As I already alluded to, Octavia Spencer is a fricken powerhouse of an actor. She has won an Oscar before and somehow she said yes to doing a Blumhouse horror/thriller? For real?! Well as expected, she blew this performance out of the water. She seamlessly twists herself from emotion to emotion as she cons other characters and puppeteers everyone to do her bidding. Her backstory is actually quite a tragic thing as she was set up by her classmates to do sexual favors with Luke Evans’ character when they were teenagers. That is exactly what fuels her to get revenge on her former classmates by way of messing with their children. With this story boiled down to exactly that, it is quite the fucked up concept which does this genre justice.
As I said in my main review, an aspect that I liked was how much all the characters in this film were exactly who they were with no secrets or extravagant backstories, aside from Spencer. All the teenagers were exactly as is, stupid party-hungry modern day teenagers. The parents played exactly who they were painted to be from the sex-crazed Mercedes, to the despicable douchebag Ben, to the bad-on-her-luck mom Erica. All too often these horror flicks present us these characters that are damn near superhuman or unapologetically stupid. Here with “Ma”, we get just regular ole idiots! Rejoice!!
The finale of this film is ruthless. The entire time, “Ma” builds up the sadistic persona that is Sue Ann. Once this film approaches its grand finale, Sue Ann goes OFF. She places a hot iron on Chaz’s stomach, STITCHES Haley’s mouth straight up in plain sight, paints Darell’s face white, stabs Andy after catching him in a lie then takes a beautiful family portrait of her work with all the teenagers. This segment was downright hard to watch on the basis of: A. looking at this in the perspective of a psychopath doing this to teenagers was appalling and B. just simply the graphic nature of her actions. Pure horror/thriller art as presented by Blumhouse and company.
Once again, I find “Ma” a personal surprise hit of 2019. I probably enjoy the film a bit more than the standard viewer but that is the fun in this game I call film analysis.