Ma

Ma ★★★★★

Ma is the story of this lady who, middle aged and unfulfilled, does not want to drink alone and will go any lengths to avoid doing so. Those lengths include kidnapping teenagers. She leaves snapchats explaining that she does not want to drink alone, but people leave her to it anyway. Bad idea as it turns out, Ma has a temper.

This is a future cult classic really, funny as hell. People started cheering Ma on at about the half-way point, and didn't really stop. The script is a real bin, the photography is haphazard. A lot of it feels like the camera operator is constantly a few steps closer than he should be. It ain't visually pleasing but I suppose it communicates Ma's lack of boundaries well enough. It may or may not have been intentional. But Spencer does phenomenal work, really goes at it.

Luke Evans has a surprisingly, er, meaty role, if you get me. The younger male leads are all charisma vacuums but the two young main actresses both do good work, would not be surprised to see them do something not trash in the near future. All the dogs are good as well, and there's one adorable cat. I think Spencer's clout helped them get some surprisingly big names on the cheap. Human names that is, not sure if any of the pets were already famous. I didn't recognise any of them anyway.

Ma's origin story is hardly sensitively handled, but Spencer wrings real pathos out of it, and the closing beat works. This is basically just Anne Wilkes' Don't Breathe. It's the silliest Blumhouse flick since The Visit, and on that basis recommended. This is not a new experience in terror, by any means.

Horror fans'll be interested in the soundtrack as well. This is a goofy film in near-enough every respect, but throws the genre true-believers a bone by delivering a surprisingly classic, straight-down-the-line 80s synth score. It's not far off a Halloween sequel in places - though the compositions are much airier than something you'd expect to hear from that series on the whole. The diegetic songs also slap, and the way it drops Earth, Wind and Fire is an all-timer.

I'd happily see some more Ma if I'm honest. I'd love Blumhouse to smash her up against some of their other IPs. Ma Versus The Dark Web, or Ma's Purge. If I was pitching a sequel it'd absolutely be Ma Goes To Jail. Writes itself. I hope to God Blumhouse do not leave the series here, and go all out with increasingly wild sequels.

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