Ma

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The latest horror/thriller from Blumhouse came out this weekend and it features Octavia Spencer in a role unlike any role you have ever seen her in.  Ma is the title and Octavia Spencer really embraced the crazed elements of this character.

Sadly, there are just too many issues that the film has for Ma to really grasp the ring and be the truly shocking, frightening and disturbing film that it could have been.

Starting with Octavia Spencer, she was absolutely tremendous.  Her performance was creepy and vile despite the fact that you, as the audience, could almost relate to her traumas.

Spencer plays Sue Ann, a veterinarian assistant who is lonely and winds up buying alcohol for a group of under aged kids.  Then, Sue Ann invites the kids over to her house to party in the basement.  It does not take long for the kids to realize that, despite Ma’s house becoming the in place for high school partying, there was something more going on than they expected.

Sue Ann turns into a psycho stalker and does some dastardly things.  As the film progresses, we discover the reason why Sue Ann is as damaged as she was.  A certain high school incident traumatized her and forever altered her life path.  I was just not sure what triggered Sue Ann to start on this path of vengeance.  There really was no trigger and it seemed as if Sue Ann had spent many years living in this little town in the south with many of the same individuals as she went to school with, but she never went crazy until now.  The whole backstory was something that I just did not buy and that hurt the movie for me.

There were also too many moments when all that needed to happen was for one of the characters to call the police and the whole movie would have been over.  When there are too many times like this, it feels like lazy writing.  There were even times when Sue Ann had sent something via social media or email that showed Sue Ann in a dangerous light.  I mean it was … you know, evidence.

Ma dropped some hints through the film that there were some really messed up things going on but the movie never goes for it.  I totally thought we were going to get some reveal showing how messed up Sue Ann was, but they did not do it.  Sue Ann has a daughter and this character was one that was never developed despite feeling like the movie had some idea of what was happening to her.

The young actors do a decent job with what they are given.  I liked Diane Silvers, who played Maggie, the main character of the high school students.  Juliette Lewis was Maggie’s mother.  Their relationship seemed to change each time the plot needed it to.  The inconsistency was a problem here.

Luke Evans appears too in a small but important role as one of Sue Ann’s classmates in high school who had grown up and had a son, Andy (Corey Fogelmanis), who was dating Maggie.

Things go really nuts in the third act, which is fairly fun, especially because of  Octavia Spencer.  There are several over-the-top moments that work thanks to this talented actress.  I have to say that I wanted some more wrap up at the end of the movie than what I got.

In the end, Ma has its moments and is not a terrible movie.  It just had the potential to be a thrilling and dark story with unbelievably disturbing twists, but does not reach the level.  Octavia Spencer is awesome though and is the main reason to see this.

2.8 stars

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