"Ma" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Despite all the hype leading up to this movie when it was released in 2019, "Ma" is just not good. It doesn't work at all, and is extremely boring and painful to watch.
We follow a middle-aged African American woman named Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) who is extremely lonely. We never see her have one friendly interaction with someone her age in the film. When a group of teens tries to get someone over 21 to buy them alcohol, Sue Ann is hesitant at first, before agreeing to their request.
She then opens her house to these teens, and eventually it becomes the teen party center of the town. We see teens of all ages drinking and making out, and Sue Ann is right along with them. She finally has found friends, even though they're two times younger than her. When the parents find out she has been having their kids over, she goes berserk, and traps the kids in her house. Will the kids be able to save themselves from Ma's clutches?
This just follows the same redundant teen horror film plot line that's been sweeping the theaters the past few years. The plot is so predictable anymore, and it's no longer fun or exciting watching these teens horror films. Whatever happened to "Halloween" or "Scream"? Why are we now subjected to pure boredom with a bad plot?
Even the stellar cast that plays the adults can't save this film. We have Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, and Allison Janney in this film, and it's still so bad. The characters lacked depth and dimension, and had no chemistry between each other.
My biggest pet peeve for this film (and many other horror films that have been released lately) is the treatment towards the handicapped and people preyed on by bullies. The reason Ma is causing so much chaos is to get back at the parents for a cruel prank in high school. They portray the poor tormented kids as the bad guys, while our bullies are the heroes. It doesn't sit right with me, and I was wishing that our protagonists didn't survive based on how they treated her. We also have Genie, Ma's secret daughter who is tricked into thinking she is wheelchair-bound. They portray her as slow, and use her just for jump scares and the overall creepiness factor. How is that going to make other wheelchair-bound girls feel when watching this film? Are they just going to think they are creepy little monsters that must be hidden? Horror films have been adopting this strategy in their films more and more lately, and it honestly disgusts me that the handicapped are being portrayed so negatively in the horror genre.
"Ma" wasted all its time on building up the scares. The scares didn't even begin till there was only half an hour left of the movie. Even then, there were no jump scares and Spencer's over-the-top acting was ridiculous. It truly amazes me how some horror films get made, as "Ma" should've been kept on the shelf in a producer's office, collecting dust and never seeing the light of day.