We went and saw Meh, er, I mean Ma, in theaters and it it was nothing new or exciting. If you take the stalker subgenre of horror or thrillers, add an academy award winner and a cast of pretty teens, you have Ma. It’s very by-the-books. Ma is an interesting enough movie that features darn good acting and solid direction. My problem with Ma is that it’s not notable enough to spend your money on it. It feels like many of the straight to streaming entries that Netflix provides us with, solid but forgettable.
Ma follows Maggie (Diana Silvers), who is new in town, just having moved from the West coast to this town in the midwest where her mother, Erica (Juliette Lewis) is from. Maggie quickly befriends a group of gorgeous teens, and they begin their quest to party. The most important part of any party quest is finding an adult to buy you booze, and Ma (Octavia Spencer) fills that niche nicely.
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As the group continues in their quest, they realize that they need a safe place to party, another niche that Ma is happy to fill. Finally, their quest to party leads them back to Ma’s house over and over, but now it’s the teens who must fill a niche – Ma’s need for acceptance and control. As the group becomes less enthusiastic about Ma’s parties, Ma becomes more and more overbearing until she has a full break with reality and becomes unhinged.
Ma Movie Trailer
Ma Movie Review
I don’t know what I thought movie reviewing was going to be about when I started doing it. However, it’s not a terribly glamorous thing because of movies like Ma. This movie didn’t commit any mortal sins, and frankly, it was pretty well done. It’s just forgettable and uninteresting, which adds to the tedium of much of life.
Score for Ma
Here’s the lowdown on Ma, you’ve seen it. Remember Greta? Yea, same movie essentially. Have you seen The Gift? If not, you should watch that instead of Ma, because it’s actually scary and keeps the audience on their toes. Here is a list of movies that do a much better job of accomplishing essentially the same story as Ma, but did give you a more interesting product:
The Gift is Really Good
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That being said, I think Ma is a well put together movie that has a lot of good things going for it. Here is the good about Ma.
The direction is solid. At no point in Ma did I feel like I was watching a poorly put together movie. All of the actors were on point; all the camera work made sense and accomplished what it set out to do. There wasn’t much artistry to the direction in Ma, except for staying out of the way of the story, which helped to make this watchable.
Wanna Watch a Similar Stalker Horror Movie? Check Out Greta!
The acting was very good. All of the characters were acted well, of course, it helps to have probably one of the most notable Academy Award winners in recent memory, Octavia Spencer, as your star role. Octavia stole the show in terms of believability, and in this kind of stalker genre movie, that’s probably the most important part – having a believable stalker with a solid motivation. All of the other actors and actresses did a great job as well.
Ma also has a fabulously solid soundtrack of disco and club hits from the ’70s and early ’80s. The party vibes feel simultaneously fun and foreboding, which is a plus.
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There was no way to make the stakes very high. The vast majority of this movie was Ma trying to get the kids to party with her. When the kids started pulling away, she resorted to lame high school level attempts to raise the stakes. Things like stealing your boyfriend, your jewelry, and show up at your house to talk to your mom – these aren’t scary. They don’t raise the stakes in Ma until the very end, at which point it’s almost like they realized that nothing had happened the whole movie and decided to throw the kitchen sink at it.
This movie didn’t rely on jump scares; I think it had one or two. Mostly it relied on building tension, which it didn’t do well.
Mostly the premise is pretty flimsy.
How Ma Ends
It is revealed midway through the movie that Ma has pent up shame and anger about how she was treated by her peers back when she was in high school. She begins to hatch the plan to get back at all of her old classmates by ruining the lives of their kids.
There is a particularly disturbing flashback that Ma has about her high school crush asking her for a blowjob in the school janitorial closet. She obliges him, which I can only assume a girl would regret a bit, especially considering the janitor closet. To add insult to injury, he has the whole student body waiting outside of the closet to find out, “how she was.”
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As it turns out, Ma has a daughter whom she keeps locked up upstairs and convinced that she is sick, very similar to the real-life tale of Dee Dee Blanchard and Gypsy, which has recently been made into a miniseries called The Act.
At the very end, she comes completely unhinged and traps the kids in her basement and subjects them to weird punishments before the house catches fire. She decides to burn to death with the father of one of the kids who subsequently was the guy who shamed her in high school for giving him a blowjob.
Final Recommendations for Ma
If you are looking for the movie equivalent of Mild Taco Bell sauce, this is it. Not offensive, not much to say, not very memorable, but good on anything.