film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Ma 2019 * * * Stars

MaDirector: Tate Taylor
Year: 2019
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans

"This never happened, OK". But it did happen my friends and that's the unsettling part.

Anyway, have you the reader ever seen a horror version of a John Hughes flick? Or better yet, have you ever checked out 2002's One Hour Photo or the villainous prose of Unlawful Entry (minus any police protocol)? I have in regards to the latter and Ma (my latest review) resembles those attributes.

Image result for ma movie scenesMa, with its eager malaise and unpromising, small town feel, provides spot-on casting and the makings of something a la the midnight movie circuit. Octavia Spencer in Ma's lead role, gets her Kathy Bates on and becomes the badass, cinematic wretch terror fans have always yearned for. Ma's director (The Help's Tate Taylor) gives the film inching tension and envelope-pushing, R-rated fare. He gets almost everything right except the ending which seems implausible as to how much stabbing resilience (and fire immunity) a human being can take.

Taking place in I guess, Ohio (I got that from a car's license plate), cropping out at 100 minutes, and containing an 80's-style soundtrack (hence the John Hughes reference), Ma chronicles one Sue Ann (Spencer). Sue Ann traumatized by her past and a bit of a lone wolf, befriends some free spirit, high school kids who want her to buy beer for them. Next thing you know they're hanging out in Sue Ann's basement and having cringed, wild parties. Sue Ann's behavior turns a little kooky, said high school kids reject her, and she ends up making their lives a living hell.

Image result for ma movie scenesLook for some mild twists and a woman getting run over by another woman to the sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" (you'll never think of that song the same way again). Also, look for privacy-violated Facebook allocations, partial male genital nudity, and Scooby-Doo van musings. Bottom line: Ma is disturbingly upsetting, pseudo-Hitchcockian, and will give you the fresh, genre-ed creeps as you exit the theater. Somehow it all just works. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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