MA (2019)



Directed By: Tate Taylor
Written By: Scotty Landes
Cinematography: Christina Voros
Editor: Lucy Donaldson & Jin Lee 

Cast: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, McKalley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, Missi Pyle, Allison Janney, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown 

A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.

I will admit i had to watch This film twice as the first time I had too good a time during it and kept falling asleep. So while enjoying the film especially after some libations. I kept falling in and out of the film. Catching a detail here or there but never quite getting the full picture. The second time I watched it stone cold sober and realized it was just as ridiculous it wasn’t the drinks.

This might be a good gateway horror film except it’s not really a horror film, it has a certain elements that might be good for someone who wants to break into horror movie watching. As it has requisite violence but not too gory. It has it’a fair share of jump scares.

What the film does in a sense perfectly is subvert what you expected going in. As we believe it is more a story of obsession and loss. It does stay that way but instead of it being some kind of vengeance of a middle aged black woman seeking revenge on the mostly Caucasian teenagers who ditched her. As she felt like they gave her some kind of youth and popularity. Instead gives you more of a psychological thriller. Where the main character is using the kids as a means to an end for revenge more on their parents. Who bullied and humiliated her in her youth. At the same time she Is also reliving the memories of her youth with these teenagers.

The way the people she is seeking revenge on are played. They don’t deserve to die but they kind of deserve to be taken down a peg. Even as they don’t appear to be living such glamorous lives themselves.

Alison Janney plays a small supporting role but she is here more it seems to be comedic relief.

The films eye out for what it achieves but other then some gruesomeness it never quite becomes the full fledged horror film you might have come to expect. It’s more a revenge thriller that has some rather racy material but never quite becomes as explosive as the material more seems. Though in certain scenes seems highly sexualized at least more than you would think.

The film makes you want to root for Ma in a sense until you realize in her revenge. She is just as bad as her former tormenters. Even worse in some sense. As well as being a tormented herself to her own victim or by the end victims. As she is psychologically damaged and part of her still wants to be popular. So much so that she seems to punish and neglect her own daughter in her eyes to protect her and to keep her away from her newfound fun and fame.

The film gives her a backstory and we can understand her characters psyche and Octavia Spencer sells the character enough that we can feel the wheels turning and see the hurt and drama and how it has messed up her psyche.

The movie also shows a little similarity between Ma and the new girl in town. Lonely and taken in seemingly immediately by the popular group. Trying to make friends and learn her way. Only with ma it was more a joke and with the new girl it is genuine. They are connected by the new girl’s mother who used to go to school with Ma before she moved away and is now moving back. Though her appearance seems to be the fuse that starts the fire that is ma’s reign of terror.

The film doesn’t have a huge body count and the few who are killed aren’t likeable but might not deserve their fates. Though it is clear Ma is disturbed and not right in anyway. As by the end she still seems motivated by a crush of sorts or seeking a kind of vindication.

Though interestingly this is a film where it is made to look like a revenge film taken out on teenagers, but that also seems to be who the film is aimed at as an audience to watch. So that it appears to be subversive, but really is just a mild revenge.

In the end the film just feels so silly you just have to have fun with it. As it is hard to take seriously. Which of not for these elements of it seems camp the film would crash and burn if it tried to be taken seriously.

Grade: C

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