Late last month, Ma made its debut in theaters. Octavia Spencer starred in her first leading role in a horror movie. Spencer premiered in Rob Zombie’s 2009 film, Halloween II as a night nurse turned scream queen prior to taking on more serious roles in horror films. But most of us remember her in other movies such as The Help and The Shape of Water. How can we forget the infamous shit pie? But despite that, her characters are gentle in nature and often nurturing mother figures that offer wise advise to the troubled leads around her. Now Spencer is stepping into a darker form of her art. Yet, we’re keeping her within her element…somewhat.
Spencer plays the role of Sue Ann Ellington, a delusional vet tech who spends most of her days daydreaming or doing what sociopaths do best when they’re not at work. Some local teenagers come up to her at a liquor store and ask her to buy them some booze for the evening. After some convincing, She buys these kids booze and off they go to some old construction site to do what teenagers do best in horror movies: sex, weed and booze. Later on , they dub her as the cool middle aged woman that basically lets them do all the shit there parents won’t. She opens up her secluded home to them so they have a place to party. It’s all fun and games until the deception comes out and she pulls some Gypsy Rose Blanchard shit with her daughter.
It’s not hard to piece together that every bad thing that happens to these kids is because of Ma. After she gets the booze, she anonymously calls the police on the teens, getting them busted the first time around. She uses that incident to lure them into her home.
Behind every predictable plot, there needs to be a secret weapon. The producers did a good job of making you feel sympathy for Sue. Her circumstances are evil, sad, and yeah you want to avenge her yourself. I wouldn’t even say she was the victim of a practical joke. That’s a damn understatement. But I’m also not here to get political. Basically, you kind of get the idea that this is a big revenge story. It’s an incredibly vile turn of events when you learn why.
There were a lot of ‘usual’s’ in this movie, a lot of predictability. A movie that is foreseeable isn’t bad. It depends on how well the writers pull it off. They did in that respect. So anyway SPOILER:
This isn’t the way you’d think a grown woman would get back at her former classmate’s kids. Sue is in some ways a living Freddy Kruger. Overall, the approach was unique and creative. The execution was powerful up until the very end and then I rolled my eyes. The reveal of her daughter and playing off of that Munchausen by proxy, I’m really hoping that device was used to emphasize just how unstable she was. Although, this is something we already knew. Otherwise, it fizzled out quick. This was such an unnecessary element. It helped no one.
At the very beginning of the movie, one of the kids assists a girl in a wheelchair. The disabled individual is later revealed to be Ma’s daughter, which I’ll admit, wasn’t predictable. Not to me folks. So because at least one of the girls showed her kindness, I kind of expected this to work in her favor somehow once it was revealed. But It didn’t save her anymore than she saved herself at the end of the film.
At the end of the film, Ma is seen laying down in bed with the man she loved in high school, also her bully. The house becomes engulfed in flames. It can be assumed that she burned alive sleeping on the chest of a corpse. We see her looking out of the window towards the end. While a lot of us can assume she’s gone for good, they still leave us on edge a bit. It’s not safe to say she’s completely gone, but I’m okay without a sequel.
But collectively, this was a tiny tale of some devastating abuse on everyone’s end. So regardless if it all intertwined or not, it was disturbing nonetheless. Writing techniques were good. Backstory really cleared up any questions someone might have had. This might be a common device, but it worked. This movie was a bit mindless in the respect that viewers don’t have to spend time thinking about all the information they’re getting. No deep inference needed.
The amount of murders in this film was underwhelming. Otherwise, it was a well executed cliche of a movie. One the Creep Meter, 6/10