“Ma” stars Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Diana Silvers, Luke Evans, McKaley Miller, Missi Pyle, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo, and Dante Brown. Released on May 31, 2019, the film is about a group of teenagers who befriends a lonely woman with a dark secret.
The film is directed by Tate Taylor, who also directed films such as “The Help”, “Get on Up”, and “The Girl on the Train”. It’s always important to make new friends every once in a while, but what if you make a new friend who’s not what they say they are? It can be quite frightening now that I thought about it, but that didn’t prevent me from watching something that deals with this type of concept. This latest horror film sees director Tate Taylor returning to his darker roots after helming “The Girl on the Train” three years ago. The first time I experienced Taylor for myself was from “Get on Up” back in 2014. Even though it’s been a while since I first saw that film, I remembered being impressed with his respectable direction. Then I saw his film adaptation of the 2015 mystery novel, “The Girl on the Train”, two years later, and it was a pretty big let down. So I was hoping that his next directorial effort would at least help him get back on track. Boy, was I a fool for thinking that.
-I went into this film expecting Octavia Spencer’s performance to be the best part of the experience, and I wasn’t disappointed. It goes to show that no matter what role she plays, Spencer always finds a way to show me that she means business. The other actors made an honest effort to follow suit.
-Tate Taylor’s direction was suitable for the drama elements even though they overshadow the horror thriller elements until the third act.
-The film displayed the dangers of trusting someone you don’t know about as well as Spencer’s character’s traumatic past that lead her on a darker path. While these elements sound promising during the first act, the film quickly went down the route that favors revenge thriller tropes instead of going beyond the premise’s expectations.
-Like the film’s story, the characters came off as mediocre. I didn’t care too much about the teenagers, who were basically victims of Spencer’s revenge plot. At least there was an attempt from the filmmakers to showcase Spencer’s character as more than just a psychopath.
-Despite the film being classified as a psychological horror thriller, it barely had anything that’s either scary or thrilling or both. The first two acts and Spencer’s performance had enough tolerability to keep me interested and there were a couple of moments that actually creeped me out, but its uneven blend of drama and horror prevented the film from reaching its full potential.
Final Thoughts: Like its title character, “Ma” is the type of film that you wouldn’t hang around with. Despite Spencer’s creepy performance and Taylor’s attempt to provide some interesting drama, the film fell short at providing actual scares, heart-pounding thrills, and a satisfying premise. It’s not as disappointing as Taylor’s last film, but it came pretty close. It’s worth watching for Octavia Spencer alone. Other than that, it’s a rental.