Ma is a psychological thriller/ drama which left viewers questioning what happens next because as the movie progressed things became more unsettling. Throughout, the movie MA’s true intentions became more sinister. After seeing all the trailers for the movie ‘Get Home Safe Ma “, I knew I had to be one of the first to watch this new thriller with Octavia Spencer directed by Tate Taylor. I was also curious to see how Octavia Spencer would do in a thriller movie since its not her normal genre to act in. Now I am big fan of Taylor Tate and his movies, since his forte is in the genre such as thrillers, movies ‘Girl on The Train, and ‘Eve” , and also , “The Help.” I knew the movie ‘Ma’, would not disappoint.
The movie starts off with very idyllic scenery and indie music in a suburban town background. However, as all frequent movie watchers know, this is how most thrillers start. We meet a shy timid girl named Maggie (Diane Silvers) who is new to town. On Maggie’s first day of school she encounters a girl, Haley ( McKaley Miller), and her group of friends. Haley invites Maggie over to a party that is going on later that night but when Maggie refuses Haley acts rather rude about her refusal to join and calls her a loser. Haley proves to be a crazy, risque, party obsessed sort of girl which doesn’t help her much as the movie progresses either.
Maggie ends up telling her friends to pick her up to go to the party after her mother who is a cocktail waitress cancels plans with her. Her friends pick her up in Andy’s (Corey Fogelmanis), Maggie’s guy crush father’s van. The party ends up getting cancelled so Haley not surprisingly, suggests they get alcohol and go get drunk in a secluded area of town. Shocking right? They stop by the liquor store where they try to pay older people to get them drinks and after many refusals, they stumble upon Sue Ann( Octavia Spencer). Sue Ann appears to be reluctant at first but gives in and buys the kids the drinks. Sue Ann becomes curious as to where the kids will be drinking and after the kids leave she begins to research into their lives and also notifies Andy’s dad,Ben Hawkins (Luke Evans) that the kids are doing illegal activities. Viewers now start to question Sue Ann’s sanity.
Sue Ann begins to recall memories of when she was a young teenager and when she was in school with all of the kids parents when she was younger. However, she was bullied by them into doing sexual favors specifically Ben Hawkins, and then was ridiculed for it. So it is now assumed she is doing sinister deeds to get her revenge on their kids. The kids are naive to Ma’s true intentions when Ma invites them to party in her basement where she checks their phones and secretly takes their numbers and pries into their lives. This is when the kids start calling Sue Ann, “MA”. Andy and Maggie start to date and shortly after get invited to Sue Ann’s basement again. Maggie the entire time is still questioning Sue Ann’s true motives. When Maggie accompanies Haley to the bathroom they hear a huge thump and MA berating someone upstairs who we later find out is Sue Ann’s daughter Jenine, whom she has been drugging to make sick and mentally making her believe she is sick. Maggie and Haley try to leave quickly but are stopped by Ma as she violently grabs Maggie’s arm. The girls leave and swear to never go back again and warns their friends to do the same. The next day, Sue Ann begins to face-time the girls,and invites all the kids from the school to party, but it doesn’t swoon the girls back in. Sue Ann’s violent tendencies begin to show . She runs over Ben Hawkins girlfriend while she is jogging, and after a horrible encounter with Ben she slices his arms and kills him with a dog blood transfusion. However, due to a friends birthday the girls and guys end up at Sue Ann’s place again where they end up drugged and tied down. Sue Ann irons one of the kids abs, sews down Haley’s mouth, paints Darrel’s face white , and stabs Andy. Just has she is about to hang Maggie, Jenine comes and knocks her mom down and sets fire to the basement. Maggie unties the other kids and surprisingly, Maggie’s mom ends up opening up the basement door discovering the kids down there ,thus saving their lives. The movie ends with a chilling scene of Jenine abandoning her mother which results in Ma choosing to die in her bed next to the corpse of Ben Hawkins.
The movie was very successful in touching upon unchecked mental illness, societal issues in terms of sexual abuse, the drug industry,underage drinking, and the naivete of young teens. Director Tate was also able to tie in race into this movie. In the horrifying scene where Sue Ann has successfully drugged all the kids which she has obtained from her job as a vet tech , she paints Darrel’s face white while saying “there’s only room for one of us in town.” Darrel is the only other African- american boy in the film and although this scene was quite humorous it touches upon a sensitive subject. Was this a satire to “Blackface”? In all Tate Taylor has once again awed audiences with a comical thriller.