Welcome to Ma’s

The Red & Black reviews the newest horror flick, Ma, directed by Tate Taylor.

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Welcome to Ma’s

Want to know what coming to a theater near your? R&B has the scoop!

Want to know what coming to a theater near your? R&B has the scoop!

Photo by Matt McCabe

Want to know what coming to a theater near your? R&B has the scoop!

Photo by Matt McCabe

Photo by Matt McCabe

Want to know what coming to a theater near your? R&B has the scoop!

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Ma” is an American horror film directed by Tate Taylor, released May 31st, 2019. It stars Octavia Spencer as the titular character and antagonist, Ma, and Diana Silvers as the teenage protagonist Maggie Thompson. “Ma” follows Maggie as she moves back to her mother Erica’s, played by Juliettee Lewis, home town. Maggie makes friends with the “cool kids”, who go out in an attempt to get an adult to buy them alcohol. In doing this, the group meets Ma, who not only buys them drinks but lets them use her basement to host parties on the sole condition that they don’t go upstairs. Over time Ma uses social media to find and stalk our group of teens, constantly pressuring them into partying with her. Over time, Ma gets extremely attached to partying with teenagers to the point of devastating results.

First of all, this movie features great acting and directing. Octavia Spencer steals the spotlight as Ma, giving a convincing and unsettling performance, perfect for the tone of the movie. I can say without a doubt that Spencer is the best aspect of this movie. The performances by the leading group of teens, which includes actor Corey Fogelmanis who is better known for playing Farkle on the Disney Channel series “Girl Meets World”. Another aspect that helps contribute to the psychological thriller is the writing for the teens. Since the teenagers get the most screen time in this film, it’s important that they sound like actual teenagers than adult writers guessing what teenagers nowadays sound like. Ma succeeds in making the dialogue between the leads seem natural and very realistic.

However, in terms of writing that’s the only positive praise I can give it. Most of Ma’s dialogue, although performed well, is considerably cheesy. A lot of her actions during the movie, despite being bone-chilling, seemingly just happen for the point of being scary and don’t actually contribute anything to the overall plot. For example, in one scene Ma runs over a woman jogging, calls her a profanity, and then turns on the radio to September by Earth, Wind, and Fire on full volume, end scene. This is just one of many scenes that occur without any reference in the future or actual impact on the plot as a whole. On a related note, the movie’s soundtrack includes songs like “September”, “Funkytown”, and “Kung-Fu Fighting”, none of which properly create the intended tones for this horror. Rather, they do the opposite and make the scenes where they are used seem more like a comedy at points.

Overall, I would give “Ma” 2 1⁄2 stars out of 5. Despite all of this movie’s flaws I still had a good experience watching this movie and did enjoy it. The best way to watch this movie is with a group of friends as it is genuinely scary; but at points the scares the movie attempts become so ridiculous that they backfire and the movie seems like a comedy.

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