With a tiny $5M budget, they will make a profit.
Ma (I) (2019)
User ReviewsReview this title
With a tiny $5M budget, they will make a profit.
Bad: The story's goal/main theme is not interesting and the choices of the characters are, like always, stupid and ignorant. The romance is forced and unbelievable. The story and characters are under-developed and are not given detail. The film lacks a scare factor/shock-value and the only times the audience jumped were in unnecessary jump scare scenes throughout a campy horror flick.
Overall: Besides Octavia Spencer, the cast is throw-away and do not add much to the film making it its own. This is a skip, at most a wait for Netflix. Messy with loose holes as it never fully develops and dark humor that's cringe and laughable.
*The movie's lesson here is to have common sense!
Nice suspense, drama and entertainment. I didn't go in expecting much because there have barely been any horror or thriller movies that I have enjoyed lately. I was pleasantly surprised though. Go see it.
As for the other actors, they range from bad to functional at best and most of them are Teen stereotypes or one dimensional. There's a few forced Jumpscares in there just because the movie has to have Jumpscares I guess? Nothing too special about the music and surprisingly not much violence at all. To sum this movie up best, it's basically a sub-standard Horror movie that's elevated by one really good performance, and everyone else is lurking in the shadows. I did get a few laughs out of it though, both intentionally and unintentionally, so it's not the worst thing you could watch. However, if I tried to be objective about it rather than seeing it as a Guilty Pleasure, Ma would probably be somewhere around a 3 or 4/10 rating.
Couple of comments: this is the latest Blumhouse Production, which has built a very strong niche for inexpensive but well-made scary and horror movies. This one is directed (and co-written) by Tate Taylor, who recently also gave us "The Girl On the Train". And last but not least, the movie's lead is none other than Octavia Spencer. When you take all elements into consideration, I felt reasonably certain that "Ma" might be worth checking out. Alas, I couldn't have been more wrong. From almost the get-go, things happen that are frankly implausible (5 high school kids accept invitation of complete stranger to "hang out in the basement", literally, and many more examples I will not mention so as not to spoil), In addition, there is nothing scary in the movie. I thought this was supposed to be scary movie? Octavia Spencer, bless her heart, tries the best that she can with the material that she is given (which isn't much). By the time we are an hour into the movie, I frankly had completely given up on this film, as I wasn't interested in any of the characters, and did I mention the movie isn't scary in the least? But I decided to stick it out until the very (bitter) end. I shouldn't have...
"Ma" opened wide this weekend. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was attended okay but not great (about 15 people), although the picture perfect Spring weather may have been a factor. I cannot recommend "may" to anyone in good conscience, but of course I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
We learn early on that, for all her bonhomie and helpfulness in facilitating underage drinking, Sue-Anne aka Ma has her own agenda for helping out these teens. Octovia Spencer, playing both with and against type at the same time has a nice line in dark and brooding glances as the plot and backstory both unwind.
This is a predictable story with some unpredictable wrinkles in it. Ma is a pleasing character - a monster who you sympathise with. And Ms Spencer is as good as always, in an unsettling role.
This is more a dark psychological thriller than a horror movie - it sits in a shared borderland. It's quite good.
Ma is a chilly tale of a woman whose mental growth was stunted from a cruel act done to her back in high school by the parents of the high school kids. Physically, she is a woman with a mediocre job, house, was married, and is a mother, but mentally is forever that socially awkward teenaged girl stuck forever in high school by a cruel prank she never got over. It was so cruel she tries to stunt her daughter's growth and intentionally makes her sick in order to stop her from going to school and facing the mean kids like she did when she was in high school. For those individuals who have their lives together, this movie is mediocre and idiotic. For those individuals who don't and let the sins of the past become their whole life or no matter how hard they try to better themselves, they continue to fail and return to their hometown and face the ridicule of adult bullies who rejoice in their failure, it's scary accurate and kinda depressing if you are in that predicament.
It's a simple movie with so many hidden, deeper meanings. There is even one scene where Ma paints the only black friend of the high school kids in white face and tells him there can only be one black friend. For bullies who bullied weaker kids in high school or elementary school, their lives go on without a worry of the effects of their bullying did to those kids they tormented. Sometimes those kids dust off what happened to them in high school and move on with their lives. Then there are those like Ma, who are forever tortured about being bullied as a child. And the cruel prank done to her was pretty traumatizing. It is a crazy reminder of how as children and adults we need to aware of how actions and treatment of others mentally affects them. Otherwise our children must suffer for the sins of our past.
The intended subject of terror is an overweight middle-aged woman named Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) who befriends a group of high-school students, allowing them to party in the basement of her house in the middle of nowhere. But Ma, as Sue Ann is called by the kids, has a secret agenda, one that anyone versed in horror movies will have no problem guessing.
Ma borrows heavily from both Carrie and Misery, Sue Ann being part Carrie White (mercilessly bullied at school by her peers) and part Annie Wilkes (nutty plump female psycho, handy with a syringe), but nowhere near as effective as either. Spencer tries her best to instill a sense of fear in the viewer, but the trite nature of the plot-hole ridden script, the pedestrian direction, and the plodding pace rob the film of any tension.
I have no doubt that if it hadn't been for the massive box-office success of Us, we would have seen Ma going straight to DVD/streaming service.
4/10, although I nearly dropped it down to 3/10 for having the nerve to steal the 'ornaments in the wrong place' plot device from Misery, and not even do anything of note with it.