Review: “Ma” – Tate Taylor

7 mins read
Thrilling, oppressive, psychological – that is the model that the company Blumehouse is standing for. The production company has proven in recent years that it hasn’t yet shaken up the cinematic landscape enough, but that a new wave of horror film has opened up. In this new genre representative Olivia Spencer is supposed to keep the horror in suspense. For her newest project she teamed up with director Tate Taylor (“Girl on the Train”), for whose film “The Help” she has won her Oscar in 2012 and enters a new experimental territory while slipping into the mind of “Ma”. Oscar winner Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) and actor Luke Evans (“Beauty and the Beast”) also fulfill the cast, but is a star studded cast really enough to produce a good horror movie?
Quelle: Universal Pictures
From the very beginning the viewer is drawn into the plot and made familiar with the characters. First and foremost is the protagonist Maggie, played by Diana Silvers and her friends group, which is refreshingly loosen up the plot. Tate Taylor manages to to muster comedic moments into the story and notes simple elements of the coming-of-age genre into the twisted nightmare. Through he doesn’t mature this elements as much as Andy Muschietti does in his remake of Stephen King’s “It”, the elements of friendship, first love and family are only good for the plot and give it a very modern touch. Whereby you also have to forgive the movie a lot to enjoy it – the audience will love and hate it for the wrong reasons, because “Ma” feels like a soap opera with a few twists and turns in the end. Even though the young actors all perform solidly, their characters all act unreasonable and naive in most situations. “Ma” makes use of the most common film clichés, because exactly these plot strands have been seen in countless film adaptations before: the typical romance, the daredevil group leader or the class clown, whose laughing pass away sooner or later. And this is exactly the reason why it’s so refreshing to see Octavia Spencer in this movie, who blossoms in her role and has an undeniable screen presence. As a vengeful troublemaker she manages to create foolish paradoxical moments again and again, but also convinces in her more serious sequences. Her facial expressions offer a range from being a nice neighbor from next door to an outsider, who is striving for personal retaliation, who manages to catch the audience in a way, that you can’t do nothing but be stunned and want to know more about this certain character. Instead the script makes you wonder over and over again what Su Ann might be capable of.
They’re not came to play: Maggie (Diana Silvers) meets Ma (Octavia Spencer)
Although the movie manages to entertain during it’s run time of 99 minutes and causes discomfort in you, especially the more blood comes into hand, the plot of “Ma” doesn’t testify to originality at all. However, it’s all the more invigorating that after “Us” by Jordan Peele a dark-skinned woman is allowed to play the leading role in a horror movie for the second time this year. Nevertheless, it would have been desirable to incorporate the sporadically shown flashbacks from Su Ann’s past into the plot in a more creative way, because the movie gives away it’s potential by only letting the viewer scratch on the surface and not going further into depths to look into the mysterious head of Octavia Spencer’s character Su Ann. The film is oriented to clear stylistic elements of the horror genre, due to the oscillation between expectant suspense and bloody splashed, but drifts more and more into narrative madness in the third act, which makes the moviegoer doubt its credibility. Although Tate Taylor’s latest horror flick convinces with coherent pictures and the necessary entertainment factor, the result feels more like a B-movie, which is just for entertainment, even though the promising cast made us hope for more.
Quelle: Universal Pictures
Bottom line is that “Ma” sadly can’t keep up with some other genre representatives, who are just bubbling over with new ideas and refresh the wheel of horror movies. However, if you can accept that you are only presented with a mediocre film, which nevertheless takes one or the other surprising turn, then this will be a guilty pleasure to watch. The narrative pattern fits to the story, but be prepared that it will drift to absurdity in the last quarter of the run time. The final twist seems like a last concession to the whole genre, which however won’t satisfy the viewer when the credits roll onto the screen. Nonetheless, “Ma” is a really accessible movie, which probably arouses the interest of more people than just horror fans and makes you feel welcome at “Ma’s”!

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