review by Bobby Blakey
This new wave of horror films like Get Out, Halloween and the upcoming US is really bringing a fresh new feel to the genre. The latest MA looks to not only bring more of the same, but also Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer in the lead reteaming with The Help director Tate Taylor. Could this film deliver on the crazy party it promises or will it be last call?
MA follows Sue Ann, a loner who keeps to herself in her quiet Ohio town. One day, she is asked by Maggie, a new teenager in town, to buy some booze for her and her friends, and Sue Ann sees the chance to make some unsuspecting, if younger, friends of her own. She offers the kids the chance to avoid drinking and driving by hanging out in the basement of her home. But there are some house rules: One of the kids has to stay sober. Don’t curse. Never go upstairs. And call her “Ma.” But as Ma’s hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, what began as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare, and Ma’s place goes from the best place in town to the worst place on earth.
I love movies like this so had some high hopes going in nd while it had some great moments it didn’t really live up to what I had hoped. The trailer shows a lot and I had thought there would probably be a lot more to it and there was, but it was all highly predictable. This might have been by design, but it just felt all too convenient and took out some of the tension build up. This aspect doesn’t make the film bad by any means just made it lose some of what I was hoping would make it stand out.
Like a lot of these films there are a ton of dumb decisions making with the parents being the only ones that instantly see an issue with all of this. Sure the kids start to question eventually, but they are also easily sucked right back in. The cast are fine, but it’s Spencer who really makes this film more than it might have been otherwise. She chews up the scenery and steals the show at every turn. While she never gets to fully cut loose, the subtle crazy she displays works for this story. I was bit surprised to see the always great Alison Janney show up in a small role that I guess serves a point to the direction of MA, but was sorely underused for the direction it went.
In the end this movie has some great moments, mostly in the second half and Spencer delivers exactly what I was hoping, but as a whole the film underwhelmed. I applaud the idea and attempt, but there was just something missing in the overall film that made it less than what it could have been.
In addition to the film this release features bonus content including trailer, deleted scenes, featurettes and an alternate ending. Join in on the dangerous party with MA available now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.