You know the setting: a group of teenagers, dilly-dallying with alcohol and drugs in a quiet town in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, USA.
The golden ticket is found when sweet, unassuming Sue-Anne, a middle-aged woman walking her dog, is convinced by the kids to buy them booze. This escalates into the kids spending time in Sue-Anne’s basement as she would rather them drink there than be driving around town, causing trouble.
Tell me when you think it’s getting a bit weird for you.
I would have ruled myself out right when she invites them into her home, but I had faith in the narrative and Octavia Spencer has never done us wrong has she?
The basement becomes a Mecca for teen drinking and Sue Ann adopts the name Ma, taking these kids in for absolute PG ragers.
The story unravels and we learn that Sue Ann’s past is weighing heavy on her, the opening of her basement door is just the beginning. Shock.
I went into Ma expecting the usual – it screamed of bathroom mirror pop-ups, jump scares and body horror and although the latter couldn’t be avoided, it seemed to have a reason.
But there’s a strange sincerity to this film. Maybe it’s because I’ve got a soft spot for Octavia Spencer? Or perhaps it’s because director, Tate Taylor does very well to humanise and develop what could have been a mindless slasher baddie.
The issue with Ma is as the characters plod along, slapped in the face by red flags, they still carry on at a very slow pace oblivious to the warnings until suddenly it comes to a head and they act like it wasn’t coming a mile off.
But the strangest thing about watching this film was the weird, old audience I watched it with. The guy next to me vaped throughout and jumped out of his seat as the credits rolled and ran from the cinema. Also, a couple showed up 40 minutes in and moved people from their seat, the cheek of it.
Go see Ma, just as in the film, she’ll look after you for the most part but leave you somewhat damaged.