Ma: Will we make her drink alone?

S2S: Welcome back everyone! This week we have before you the long awaited movie, Ma. For this review, Trip Fontaine and I both took the time to view this movie and discuss. This movie stars a bunch of unknown actors but features, primarily, Octavia Spencer (Ma) and newcomer, Diana Silvers (Maggie). This movie is brought to us from the producers of Get Out and Happy Death Day. A fact noted on the poster for a reason. I’ll explain that reason below. But let’s get to the point. Take it away, Trip. 

TF: Thanks S2S for having me again; however, stop me if you’ve heard this one. A new girl in town who gets befriended by the cool kids in school and falls in love with the nerdy one of the bunch. Of course, the cool kids want to party, but are under twenty-one, so obviously buying booze is a challenge. How can they solve this problem? Stand directly in front of the local liquor store asking random adults to buy their alcohol grocery list and hand them a wad of cash. Most adults are not takers. Then, along comes Ma… The new girl in town, Maggie, is ultimately tasked with convincing Ma to purchase the group’s liquor. In the popular preview for Ma, Maggie is seen saying, “There’s something off about Ma.” And, the audience says a collective, “Duh!”

S2S: Well, I’m glad you pointed that out. One major issue with this movie is that it’s super predictable and lacks originality. I mean you’re right, what were they thinking? How will this even work out for them at all… and are they that dumb to keep going back?! But I think the most important flaw of this movie is that there is barely any horror for a movie advertised as such, which is a trend that I’m noticing is occurring more often. Yet, recent films, such as Get Out and Us, actually had storylines and underlying cultural relevance to make up for the genre bait and switch.  Ma, on the other hand, did not live up to that for me.

TF: Right, while promoted as a horror flick, Ma is more of a suspense, thriller with some jolts of violence and some good laughs. Scares aren’t what this movie is built for. You know Ma is crazy. The real question is why. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a morality tale lying underneath it all. Without spoiling why Ma is so cray, lessons one should learn here could be summed up as follows: watch who you trust; don’t use people as a means to an end; and, quite obviously, teens, please don’t go to some random stranger’s basement in the country to drink and party. That’s not going to end well!

S2S: You’re right about two things here, the underlying tales and the good laughs. The only thing that saves this movie is the fact that I and the other audience members definitely had a few strong chuckles at Ma’s antics. The chuckles were few and far between, but each I enjoyed thoroughly. I mean honestly, every Thursday I will be either sending a meme to friends or saying, “Don’t make me drink alone! Don’t make me drink alone!” But, secondly the tales I think are relevant to a degree. Teens, don’t be stupid. “Drugs are bad, mmkay”. If it’s too good to be true, stay the heck away. And what I’ve been saying for a few movies now, “hurt people, hurt people.” And boy did Ma hurt people.

TF: That she did. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer plays Sue Ellen, who became nicknamed Ma, like few other could. Deceptively sweet, loner with a fierce, controlling dark side. Octavia is great in this movie. Without her in this role, I can’t imagine that this film would be worth it. The other adults in the film, Juliette Lewis playing Maggie’s mother and Luke Evans another kid’s father in a few scenes, flesh out some details. But, the teens are generally non-descript even as they begin to put pieces together. How great are the parties in the basement? Will they get trapped in the basement? Will they be saved? Does it even matter? Should you let Ma drink alone? Well, if it were me, ABSOLUTELY YES. She’d be drinking alone because I don’t do crazy.   

  S2S: I agree, Octavia does her thing in this role, similar to Taraji in Acrimony. This movie would not be the same without her. The movie is only good because of her portrayal of Ma. You can truly feel her past hurt simmering to a boil in this movie and I’m not sure a lesser actress would be able to display the emotions and the crazy as well. Also, the parties did look great and shout out to Octavia for her elite dancing skills. The movie however could have cut to the chase much faster and much better. As good as Octavia was in the movie, Ma needed to show more time of her being crazy, and less set-up of the past and why the teens were partying with Ma. Shoot, the movie dedicated too much time to the cool kids and far too little on one other, nearly forgetting about a whole storyline. With that said, Trip let the people know how you feel. 

TF: Well as for seeing Ma, while it is enjoyable, it is not a necessary theater viewing. If you have 90 or so minutes to spare and $7-ish to throw away, go to a Sunday matinee. Hopefully, there will be a crowd in the theater. Ma is built for collective viewing. Ultimately, I would suggest catching Ma when it comes to a streaming service. Get your buddies together, some Fireball and drink to Ma.

S2S: Right, long story short, this movie lacks originality and for a short film spent way too much time on the boring parts of the movie. The producers missed with this movie making it more like Happy Death Day rather than like Get Out. This movie would’ve been much better had Jordan Peele written and directed it. Ma is only worth watching on a streaming service or a Redbox rental, at best, unless you are super bored and have a free movie ticket. Just enjoy the memes of Ma and create a drinking game while you view this on Netflix.

game ideas… chug during flashbacks, drink every time they say basement? just ideas… you all run with it.