On paper, it seems like a dream lineup having Octavia Spencer fronting a horror film.
Ma plays with a lot of relatable themes and does well to keep its cards close to its chest before unleashing hell in a stunning finale.
The central plot focuses on a group of teenagers who become friendly with Sue Ann (Spencer) after she buys them booze from the local shop.
From here for their ‘safety’ she lets them use her basement to drink responsibly on the proviso that they don’t go upstairs.
Ma feeds us bread crumbs about the overall plot but like any thriller, it’s up to you to put the pieces together.
Almost every character plays second fiddle to Spencer’s Sue Ann here who presents a certain detachment from her surroundings and other characters when on screen. You just get the feeling her thought process is elsewhere.
The theme of bullying is prominent here and although Spencer is played as the overall villain of the piece, the development that goes into her character makes her a fully fleshed-out personality that at times you may root for.
Ma spends a decent amount of time building up this world and Sue Ann before the tension explodes into a brutal finale that is shocking but at the same time, it feels like it was what was required to close this story.
It feels like Ma is destined to become a cult classic.