Skip to content

Octavia Spencer… Putting The Ma In Mayhem | MA: Review

Octavia Spencer takes motherly love to a whole new level in MA | © Unversal 2019

If it’s nutty, it’s Blumhouse. I wonder how Jason Blum selects his projects. Is there a fishbowl, or wheel, or corkboard with crazy ideas? If so, how are they selected? Is there a process of elimination? If that’s the case, ideas that don’t make the cut… will they ever see production? (I would like to see a list of ideas they said “no” to.) Man… so many wonders on my end. No matter what, Blumhouse will always give its audience a project that’ll shake their spin and rattle their brain. Some good. Some not-so-good. And with their latest – MA – Well… let’s just say this may be the most “WTF?!” material to come out of their house-of-horrors.


Everybody’s welcome at Ma’s. But good luck getting home safe. Octavia Spencer stars as Sue Ann, a loner who keeps to herself in her quiet Ohio town. One day, she is asked by Maggie (Diana Silvers), a teenager new in town, to buy some booze for her and her friends, and Sue Anne 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 rules, bro! One of them has to stay sober. Don’t curse. Never go upstairs. Never take the lord’s name in vain. And… call her “Ma.” But as Ma’s hospitality starts to unleash into obsession, what begins as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare, and Ma’s place goes from the best spot in town to the worst place on earth.


This movie is crazy fun multiplied by 100! A bit of a slow-burn at first, then goes into a zone that’s a little beyond abnormal. At a run of an hour-and-thirty-nine minutes, it’s a psychological thriller that wanders a gauntlet of charm and cynicism. MA is one of the most bizarre films I’ve seen this year! Octavia Spenser is the type of talent you’d think would pass on stuff like this, but personal ties to the project (according to production notes) allowed her to gracefully take the dive. This woman does crazy well. So well, it’s downright disturbing. It starts off innocent, fun and jovial… One thinks they have it figured it out. Then the twist starts to unfurl and MA morphs into a cocktail of wickedness, making this movie sadistically entertaining. Who says chaos can’t be fun (or funny)?


Is it a great a psycho-thriller? Not really. Pacing’s off a bit and the narrative’s a little dumb. Adding insult-to-injury would be its cast of “youngsters.” Most of those “kids” are annoying. So much, you enjoy watching Spencer torment them. On the flip, it was good to see Juliette Lewis though. However, the heartbeat of the film is clearly Spencer. Throughout the film, her character makes you laugh and cheer and wonder and… Well, see for yourself. It’s not the Spencer we’re used to seeing. Way, way off from her performances in THE HELP, HIDDEN FIGURES, or THE SHAPE OF WATER. However, in this piece… Spencer puts the “ma” in mayhem!




Grade: B- / Genre: Psychological-Thiller, Suspense, Drama / Rated: R / Run Time: 1:40


Starring: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, and Luke Evans


Directed by: Tate Taylor


Official Site:

© Universal 2019