Horror Review – Ma

Ma

Sometimes, some of our favorite actors and/or entertainers surprise us with roles that seem so far out of left field that we’re left speechless. One such role that always comes to mind is Robin Williams’ performance as Seymour Parrish in One Hour Photo.

As such, I went in with high expectations of Octavia Spencer in Ma. Unfortunately I ended up disappointed.

I don’t know what disappointed me more – the fact that the movie simply fell flat, or that it had so much potential that it simply didn’t live up to. There are so many points in this movie that start to lead up to something, but then end up being nothing. In fact, I’m not really sure why this movie has the Horror category tacked onto it because there simply isn’t anything scary about it all. And the only mild spine tingle occurs when an almost incidental character (Ma’s daughter Genie, played by Tanyell Waivers) is seen creeping around in the background when two of the teen-aged leads wonder into a part of the house that Ma told them not to go into. And for that to make sense to you, I suppose I should explain the plot.

Erica (Juliette Lewis) has to return to her Ohio hometown with her teen aged daughter Maggie (Diana Silvers) because of a failed career out west. Maggie quickly befriends a small group of party-loving teenagers whose biggest challenge is hanging outside of a convenience store trying to convince adults to buy alcohol for them. Fortunately for them, along comes lowly Sue Ann (who is later affectionately nicknamed “Ma” by one of the kids – a name that quickly catches on with the reset). Not only does Ma help them out the first time, but upon subsequent visits she convinces them to hang out at her house as opposed to the local teen hang-out-and-drink spot.

Along the way, we learn some of Ma’s dark secrets – from her Veterinarian boss who treats her like a dog (pun intended), to her damaged adolescence that has lead her to this longing to want to fit in with what she views as an “in crowd” of teens.

But again – there is simply no “horror” in this movie. It simply plods along aimlessly from cliche to cliche until it reaches its overly predictable climatic end. There is perhaps but one other slightly chilling moment to mention, in which Ma has drugged the core group of teens and sews the lips of Haley (McKaley Miller) shut because earlier Haley told Ma that she “needed to get a man!”

To be honest, this movie seems to blatantly borrow so much from other movies that it appears writer Scotty Landes was merely trying to create some sort of a mockery mash-up. Perhaps that’s truly the point, and I overlooked it somehow. Maybe this movie isn’t intended to be taken seriously? In either case, this movie is simply as I described earlier – a story that is filled with what it could be, but never becomes.

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