Can you remember all the dumb things that you did in high school? I can. Leave it up to the naive teens in MA to take you on a rebellious trip that you will be lucky to never have been on. MA will creep you out and keep you on edge, but does the story make enough sense to keep you engaged in it?

WHAT’S IT ABOUT:

Maggie (Diana Silvers) is the new girl in town. After moving back to her mother’s small hometown, Maggie manages to make friends quickly. Not the luxury for many that ever had to move and be the new kid in school. Maggie’s new friends are a rebellious teenage bunch. On their first hangout together, they stake outside of a liquor store hoping someone does them a good deed and buys them booze. Enter, Sue Ann aka Ma.

At first Ma appears to be the coolest adult they know. She buys them booze on a regular basis and even turns her basement into a party hotspot. So what’s the downside besides her apparent lack of responsibility and authority? Well, she’s kinda crazy and acts creepy. Unfortunately for them, the booze obsessed teens seem to ignore all the warning signs and sets of rules that she establishes.

There is a reason Ma wants to be buddies with these teens. News flash, it’s not good for them or anyone in their lives. The psychotic side of Ma unveils quickly, but will they see it before it’s too late?

HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

Silvers is a newcomer that’s making a name for herself quickly. With only five credits to her name, she’s already made an impact in the recently released Booksmart and now MA. She’s a talented actress with uniquely expressive eyes. She’s going to be a household name soon.

The movie is about Octavia Spencer’s performance. Spencer is daunting as Ma. The facial expressions and ability to turn calm into rage in a glimpse is impressive. Ma is the kinda character that we haven’t seen Spencer take on. She’s dynamic and the best part of this movie.

Additionally, nice work from Juliette Lewis playing Maggie’s mother Erica. Lewis makes appearances throughout the movie, but makes an impression in every scene she appears in. She depicts Erica as a hardworking, humble, and fun individual, yet it’s clear she’s also a responsible and caring parent.

WAS IT ENTERTAINING:

I found this movie had all the elements to be memorable and special, but too many plot holes make it just okay. I felt that it presented itself as very predictable, but fortunately there are enough twists to deviate it from the expected. Spencer’s portrayal of Ma is the most compelling element of the movie, which is fine, but it had a lot more potential that the writers couldn’t fully put together.

The plot issues that exist are based on the absence of common sense. Without giving much away. Why would these kids keep coming to party at Ma’s when she’s clearly exhibiting dangerous behaviors? They can’t be this naive! The parties at her house seem to draw the entire school, granted she apparently lives in a remote property, but how can’t any adults gain any sense of awareness of these ongoing parties?

There are several more common sense story whiffs that take away credibility from the entire thing. Common sense aside, there are enough moments in the movie to provide a jolt and create some goosebumps.

Ma is hiding something upstairs that if cultivated properly could have been a major plot point in the movie. When we see the reveal, it falls flat, besides serving as a crutch to her mission. That “secret” upstairs was a huge element they wasted, instead of providing layers and depth to the story and Ma’s character. It could have changed the movie completely, for the better. I was disappointed that the filmmakers didn’t use the side plots they planted to the full potential.

SHOULD YOU SEE IT:

If you are willing to overlook the plot holes, this movie is creepy and scary enough to deliver on its premise. The script was ambitious, but not properly executed. At least the movie offers enough twists to derail from the obvious assumptions. Ma is on a mission and the flashbacks throughout the movie that point to her downfall seem snail paced instead of being riveting and revealing. Most will be able to figure it out before the movie gets to it.

Ultimately, if you’re out for a scare then you’ll be fine with MA. It has several tense moments to downright gory ones that will make your stomach turn. On the other end, if you’re seeking a thought provoking and clever film along the likes of a Jordan Peele thriller, then you won’t find it here.

MA is chilling until it goes off the rails into full-blown lunacy in the final act. The final scenes are looney to the point of being oddly fitting with the story theme. Moral of the story, don’t drink underage and never hang out at Ma’s.

GENERE: Horror, Thriller

RATING: R

RUNTIME: 1 hr 39 min

RELEASE DATE: In Theaters May 31, 2019

‘MA’ Score: 60%

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Written by Jim Alexander

Jim Alexander hails from Chicago where he started his journalism career as a film critic and founder of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC). He's a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. Jim founded Reel Talker as a platform to share his love of movies and entertainment. Jim's favorite part of being a journalist is getting to meet and interview actors, filmmakers and entertainers. Jim is a host and on-camera personality for AfterBuzz TV. Aside from his work with Reel Talker, he's the site owner of the Bachelor Universe website, where he recaps and talks about all this ABC's 'The Bachelor'. He also runs the Reel Talker Podcast that can be found on iTunes. In his free time he enjoys attending sports events and playing in recreational leagues. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

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