Movie Review: She’s a MA-niac


Sometimes the most mundane things or people are freakishly evil.

Leila Harper, Beyond the Gates Editor

Ma is a psychological horror flick released in theaters May 31. It is rated R. It stars Octavia Spencer as Ma, Diana Silvers as our plucky protagonist Maggie, and Corey Fogelmanis as the love interest Andy (also known as Farkle from Girl Meets World).

The movie begins when Maggie and her mom move back to her hometown after a divorce. On her first day at school, Maggie meets Haley (played by McKaley Miller) and her friends, Chaz (Gianni Paolo), Darrell (Dante Brown), and Andy. The four kids invite Maggie to hang out with them, but before they go they go on a booze run. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the friends send Maggie to ask a middle-aged woman to buy alcohol for them. Reluctantly, she agrees. This one kind gesture turns into a regular occurrence after the woman invites the teens to drink somewhere they won’t get arrested or try to drive drunk; her basement.  Ma’s place becomes the most popular place for teenagers to party in town, but she has a secret vendetta, a little inkling of crazy.

Ma was an enjoyable movie. It was surely an experience. As simply a movie-goer, it was a fun movie to watch. As a critic, it had some faults. Okay, maybe a lot. Let’s begin with the good pieces.

The protagonists were likeable and I found myself hoping that they survived. My favorite thing about the movie was that the dialogue that the teenagers had was very realistic. It was full of the dry, witty, “cringe-worthy” things that teens like me find ourselves saying. In this regard, the movie was very funny. I enjoyed the characters’ conversations and chemistry with each other.

The villain, Ma, disguised as a middle-aged woman trying to revisit her glory days as a partying teen, is a confusing one. She is most definitely a psychopath, but that’s where the movie begins to have some chinks in its armor of truly relatable humor and an unsettling pretense.

And saying “there’ll be a sequel” will not help its case: Ma is never explained. Not completely. Further explaining where I’m coming from crosses away from the Spoiler Free Review I’ve tried to brand myself with. The tragic backstory was not enough in this case.

Unfortunately, all the uncomfortable terror within Ma that I enjoyed was not enough to save its mediocre handling of the concept. For this, like its ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, I give Ma a 6/10. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys thrillers and has a few bucks and an afternoon to spend on a subpar movie with friends.

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