Movie Review: Ma

So much horror comes out, something needs to get people in their seats. Ma grabbed me by its intriguing trailer and casting Octavia Spencer as the psychotic Ma. That one casting choice ended up being the only substantial reasons to go to the theater, but this odd, B horror flick should be consumed on Netflix with some friends rather than spending money.

Maggie (Diane Silvers) and her mom Erica (Juliette Lewis) move back to Erica’s hometown after their financial situation goes down the drain. Maggie becomes friends with some party hungry students at her school who eventually find a nice older woman to buy them booze. After a few times of this, she invites the kids to party safely at her home, only to eventually discover how overly attached Ma has become.

As entertaining it is to watch, but there are seriously laughable problems. I will give a non-spoiler issue in the plot that happens right in the beginning to provide you with an idea for what’s to come. Maggie, a girl who lived in San Diego, moves to a small town where apparently has a big high school, something she was not used to participating in a large city in California.

On a deeper narrative problem, some of the murders by Ma can easily be tracked, yet nobody in this small town is aware of anything happening. So, here is a tip, commit murder in the non-gossipy towns with lazy police, according to Spencer’s crazy party addicted killer.

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Correct me if I am wrong readers, but I am sure we have all seen small budget horror flick on Netflix or any other streaming service. Get that in your mind and remember how awkward some of the acting and dialogue can be, and that is how this film is written. I don’t blame the cast for some flat line delivery because it feels like it was written by someone who clearly has no idea what young people find to be cool or fun, and it is hilariously painful.

Continuing on the writing, some levity got mingled in with the intensity. I laughed a few times due to the jokes the group of friends would say to one another, it reminded me of high school. At times, I was confused about whether or not I should laugh by its extensive awkwardness.

The chemistry between Maggie, Haley (McKaley Miller), Andy (Corey Fogelmanis), Chaz (Gianni Palo), and Darrell (Dante Brown) felt real despite some hiccups with odd choices of dialogue. Their friendship made each of them equal parts memorable and believable. Even how they interact with other characters like Erica and Ma works well, one of the few aspects of the film that had some quality.

The tension and build up to the climax felt bumpy for the first twenty to thirty minutes. A choppy development of Maggie and her mom. Some cuts to scenes between the two threw me off by its rough transitions as the mother and daughter get established.

Ma’s motivations felt quite weak and generic. On top of not being sold on her driving murderous rage, the flashbacks to provide her generic backstory took far too long as it stumbles along to an underwhelming reveal.

Another summer horror film to wait to stream or never watch has arrived. The acting is well done, especially with Spencer, who is beyond creepy, but the poor execution of crafting a truly great villain ruins the experience. Wait for a night where you and buddies have nothing to do and have fun with this enjoyable below average thrill ride.

Score: 4/10

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Images via Blumhouse Productions

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