May 30, 2019 Ma (Movie Review)
Wow is the initial reaction you most likely will have with the new psychological Horror film Ma. One of the newest Blumhouse Productions projects, it is directed by Tate Taylor (The Help 2011, Get On Up 2014), written by Scotty Landes (Workaholics series, Ballmastrz series), and opens in theater on Friday, May 31st through Universal Pictures. So, are you ready for a wild ride?
The story follows Maggie (Diana Silvers: Flesh & Blood 2007, Glass 2019), who moves to a small town with her mother, Erica (Juliette Lewis: Natural Born Killers 1994 , From Dusk Til Dawn 1996), when life in Los Angeles gets too hard for them to keep it up. Erica starts working a new job while Maggie meets new friends at her school – Haley (McKaley Miller: Charmed series, Hart of Dixie series), Andy (Corey Fogelmanis: Girl Meets World series, Into The Dark series), Chaz (Gianni Paolo: Power series, The Fosters series), and Darrell (Dante Brown: Lethal Weapon series, Shameless series). Spending time with them, and doing the things that teenagers typically do, this eventually leads to their chance meeting with Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer: The Help 2011, Hidden Figures 2016).
This is where things get a little interesting, to say the least. Sue Ann, who takes a chance on the kids to be a cool adult and buy the underage teens liquor, starts revealing that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to her just being a cool and generous stranger. This leads them down a path of potential regrets of “If only I knew then what I know now,” but that is what makes this scenario even more interesting and creepy.
Even when the trailer for Ma debuted back in February, so many people were intrigued with the film. It would seem as though you already know the story and where the film is headed because of what was revealed in the trailer, but the creators still do a pretty good job of hiding information that you just have to see to understand in this entire misadventurous story.
Bringing it all to life, Spencer does a miraculous job in the role of Sue Ann (given the nickname Ma from Darrell) that is layered and unnervingly real. There is so much there that she taps into that brings this person from the script, to the screen, and right in front of your eyes as you sometimes forget that you are watching a movie character and not a real person. This is while Silver does a great job as Maggie, acting basically as the audience’s eyes and ears. This is especially the case when bad decisions are made or when certain things Ma says or does doesn’t entirely come across in the right way. The rest of the cast does a solid job in bringing this concept to life and it is definitely a refreshing, fun, and cringe-worthy ride.
These aspects aside, the only issue with Ma is that it seems like the third act was kind of rushed by the production team hitting the gas pedal to go ahead and end it. Nonetheless, Ma is a great film despite the pacing toward the end. Additionally, there are one or two things which seem somewhat unrealistic. Only temporarily taking you out of it, this is nothing major since the rest of Ma does an amazing job of keeping your eyes peeled to the screen and in shock all while holding your attention until the credits role.
Last but not least, it is extremely refreshing not only seeing a good Thriller, but one that showcases a black female lead that is worth the price of admission and popcorn. There are not enough women of color who are leading and showcasing their full acting ability and Ma gives us another reason why there should be more films that allow people of color to shine and not be relegated to the supporting roles, as they often typically are.
All this in mind, Ma is a recommended film that will definitely have you leaving the theater asking “What just happened?,” but in a good way. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.