Dammit, don’t these kids know about stranger danger??
Stars: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis
Director: Tate Taylor
Synopsis: A group of high schoolers befriend a local woman named Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) who helped buy them alcohol and end up turning her basement into the ultimate underage party location. Soon enough, the newly nickname Ma wants the kids to come and party every night instead of just the weekends and they realise that maybe she’s not as cool as they first thought and there might be some much more sinister motives behind her actions.
Opinion: Every time Blumhouse announce a new movie I get excited because I know it’s going to be worthy of watching. When I first saw the trailer for Ma I was hooked in from the start because I love a good cheesy teen horror and this one looked like it was going to serve up some fun ‘what the…’ moments.
In that area it definitely didn’t disappoint but I’ll get to that in the minute. For the majority of the film it’s a bit of a confusing jumble of story where you found yourself not always sure of what exactly was going on and wondering if you should have been. While the weird behaviour and sinister motives behind Ma’s actions was relatively easy to figure out quite early on in the piece, it insisted on doing a painfully slow reveal using flashbacks from her high school life which became somewhat distracting from the overall story because, as I said, you’d already figured it out and just wanted them to get on with it. The confusing factors of the story were all to do with how fast some of the plot points or change in story arc happened. One minute all the kids are happy and partying and then suddenly oh yeah Ma is creepy and let’s not do that oh but wait we’re back there again and oh suddenly parents are finding out it’s happening and we’re stopping again…..and so on. It just felt messy I guess but the fact that Octavia Spencer really did creepy and crazy so well, it was the glue that held the movie together and made it an enjoyable horror experience.
Speaking of acting, it’s pretty much Octavia Spencer running the show with the younger cast kind of unconvincing and relatively generic for the most part. Yeah there were some good moments, but they were very few so ultimately got drowned out by the blandness of the rest. Juliette Lewis, however, was also a great character and her performance while for the most part a relatively secondary character, always stole the scene when she was on. I have always been a fan of hers and I’m glad she was in this movie to give it a bit of extra spark for the moments it was missing.
Reading back over all of that, it really does seem I’m being too negative about this movie and it doesn’t deserve that at all. The story is weird, the pace is slow and somewhat jumbled but when it gets the momentum up and the shit starts to go crazy…..god damn does it go crazy. I find that to be a typical Blumhouse experience though in the sense that the film lulls you into this false sense of security where you think you know what’s happening and the pace it’s happening at and hmm yeah it’s a little slow and OH MY GOD I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT!! The final third of the movie had a fair few of these moments in it and in my opinion it was a wild final act ride that really drove the movie home. It would have been a much less enjoyable watch if the ending hadn’t been as good as it was.
Overall, it’s a corny slow-paced beginning with some weird plot moments and some really awesome video messages before transforming into the sinister beast that the Ma movie is. If you like an easy watch horror and are a fan of Blumhouse then this is definitely a film for you.
Scare Factor: Hmmm I wouldn’t say there were any scary moments in it…..oh wait there is a cool sequence in the house about halfway through the film that may or may not cause a jump. For the most part though it’s less jump scare more creepy, weird and what the hell.