Review: MA Is So Odd It’s Hard To Believe It’s Real


Ma is pretty rough in many ways, but Octavia Spencer's fun performance and a wacky and over-the-top script make it enjoyable to watch.
Technical Merit

Ma is a new horror-thriller film written by Scotty Landes (Workaholics) and re-teaming the director and actress pairing of Tate Taylor and Octavia Spencer (The Help). In the movie, Spencer stars as a lonely middle-aged woman who befriends a group of teenagers and allows them to party in her basement, although the teens soon discover that she may not have altruistic intentions.

It is extremely difficult to nail down exactly what this film is and even more difficult to say what it wants to be. The main issue with this is that the movie is horribly inconsistent with its tone. The whole audience was laughing throughout because of how ridiculous and over-the-top some parts of the film are. That being said, it isn’t ever clear whether or not the movie as a whole is meant to be funny.

This film’s story is absolutely crazy, but not in a good way. You will almost certainly be questioning whether or not you are watching a real movie or something that was designed expressly to test your sanity. Although it is best to leave the story unspoiled, it is centered around a concept so odd that it will be nearly impossible to take it seriously.

The pacing of the movie is similarly uneven. As is the case with many thrillers, the first hour or so is a slow burn and the last thirty minutes feel extremely rushed. That being said, this film is more entertaining as a whole than most similarly paced movies because of the laughably bad moments that are sprinkled throughout.

ma paint

Also disappointing is the film’s character development. All of the characters are very flat and archetypal, and the movie does next to nothing to develop the relationships between them. The eponymous antagonist is obviously meant to come across as a caricature, but it is frustrating that the protagonist and all of her friends do as well. The protagonist, in particular, does some things that feel out-of-character in many instances.

However, the film does show its classic horror roots in that it feels almost like a parable. The movie has something to say about teen partying, teen sex, and bullying, and it does so in a way that is approachable, if a bit obvious and unrealistic. Unfortunately, the film is unlikely to have any lasting impact on the audience because of its goofy nature.

The acting in the movie is pretty solid, matching the over-the-top nature of the story. Spencer is very fun to watch as the villain of a horror movie, definitely playing outside of her normal type, so she makes the film worth watching by herself. Diana Silvers (Booksmart) plays the protagonist, and even though her performance in this movie doesn’t reach the same heights, she is solid as the “scream queen” of the film.

On a technical level, the movie was mostly solid given its relatively low budget. The production design is mostly impressive, especially the set of the antagonist’s house. The soundtrack complements the old-school feel of the film well. There are also some solid effects used in the finale of the movie, although they aren’t really used to their full extent.

Overall, Ma was a perplexing movie. It is mostly enjoyable because of how much campy fun it provides, but whether or not that campiness was intentional is questionable. Regardless, the typical horror audience will likely be entertained by the film’s campiness and shock factor.

Ma is now playing in theaters.

Review: MA Is So Odd It's Hard To Believe It's Real

Ma is a new horror-thriller film written by Scotty Landes (Workaholics) and re-teaming the director and actress pairing of Tate Taylor and Octavia Spencer (The Help). In the movie, Spencer stars as a lonely middle-aged woman who befriends a group of teenagers and allows them to party in her basement, although the teens soon discover that she may not have altruistic intentions.


Carnival Row – BFF Goals with Vignette and Tourmaline | Prime Video

Can we just take a moment to appreciate one of Carnival Row's most epic duos: Vignette and Tourmaline. » Watch Carnival Row now exclusively with your Prime membership: » SUBSCRIBE: About Carnival Row: Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne star in Carnival Row, a Victorian fantasy world filled with mythological immigrant creatures. Feared by…

Breeders | Season 1: Sport Teaser | FX

Punch. Pull. Whatever it takes. Premieres 3/2 on FX - Next day on FX on Hulu. Subscribe now for more Breeders clips: FX’s Breeders is an uncompromising comedy that explores the lives of Paul (Martin Freeman) and Ally (Daisy Haggard) as they juggle full-time careers, aging parents, a mortgage and the unenviable curveballs of…

‘Democratic Candidates Gang Up On Cartoon Mike Bloomberg’ Ep. 305 Cold Open | Our Cartoon President

Cartoon Michael Bloomberg gets dismantled by Cartoons Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg at the Las Vegas Democratic debate ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Watch Our Cartoon President Sundays at 8:30/7:30c. #OurCartoonPresident Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: Get Our Cartoon President merchandise…

Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis | Netflix Standup Comedy Special | Trailer

Now halfway through her twenties, Taylor Tomlinson is ready to leave her mistakes behind. Following her Netflix debut on The Comedy Lineup Part 1 (2018), Taylor divulges the lessons she's learned in her first hour-long comedy special, Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis. Premiering globally on March 3, Taylor talks about working on yourself, realistic relationship goals,…

Sonic the Hedgehog | Movie Review

Ashley reviews Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic, the speediest hedgehog, and his new best friend Tom as they team up to defend Earth from the evil genius Dr. Robotnik. Director: Jeff Fowler Writer: Pat Casey & Josh Miller Cast: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter and Jim Carrey #SonicMovie | #SonictheHedgehog |…

Elite S3 | Date announce | Netflix

The kids are coming 03.13.2020 Watch Elite, Only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 167 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they…

The Outsider: Inside Look – Episodes 5, 6, and 7 Featurette | HBO

The cast and crew discuss Holly's big pitch, her intense car ride with Jack, and more from Episodes 5, 6, and 7 of The Outsider. #HBO #TheOutsiderHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: The 10-episode series follows police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn), as he sets out to investigate the mutilated body of 11-year-old Frankie…

The Weekly | Season 1 Ep. 27: The Promise Preview | FX

After a year-long investigation, metro reporter Benjamin Weiser comes across a horrific case of abuse inside one group home in The Bronx, New York. The Weekly investigates how and why the state fails to protect these residents and what happens when society forgets the most vulnerable. Subscribe now for more The Weekly clips: The…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here