There is a saying that goes something like if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. On many levels this works as the perfect one line review of Tate Taylor’s (The Help, The Girl on the Train) latest film, Ma. What I mean is that is seems to have everything going for it like a strong young director, a very likable, talented and watchable leading actress, producers who had brought us the great film Get Out, and a cool yet creepy storyline by one of the writers from the hilarious television series Workaholics. Could we ask for anything else? Not without seeming greedy would be my inclination.
It is a case of too good to be true. Sadly. I really wanted to like the film. Mostly for the reasons listed above, but primarily because precious few films of the sort are good. Smart yet scary horror has been making somewhat of a comeback (mostly due to Jordan Peele) of late and I really wanted this to be another winner.
Trying her darndest to accomplish just that is Octavia Spencer. Though she turns in a rather over the top performance it is really what a film like this begs for. Let the scenery munching begin! With all the gusto and bravado she can muster, Spencer almost drags the mess into being a good film. Because of her you can get some enjoyment out of watching Ma. That does not make it a good film, however.
Many of the foibles of bad horror films come to roost here. A lack of logic in the behaviour of characters, a story that makes precious little sense, plenty o’ cliches, and unintentional laughs.
Being a lonely woman, Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures, The Shape of Water) lives a very mundane life in a small town in Ohio. Everything changes on the day when a teenage girl named Maggie (Diana Silvers – Glass, Booksmart) asks Sue Ann to buy some alcohol for her and her friends. Sue Ann decides this is the chance to make some new friends.
Wanting to entice them to spend time with her, Sue Ann offers her basement to the group of teenagers to party in. They can have fun there with the only rules Sue Ann insists upon being that one of them stays sober, no one goes upstairs and no cursing. Oh, and they have to call her “Ma”.
Soon what began as the perfect situation for the teens becomes a nightmare. Soon the best party place in town turns into something a lot more sinister…and dangerous.
-Creating Sue Ann
-Party at Ma’s