Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Spencer is good enough to hold the film together single-handed, if there is enough to hold."

Teenage horror can’t be trusted with innocence. Like a vamp’s lust for swollen veins, serial killers find it difficult to control their needs. This time it’s different. Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) wants to make friends. She’s middling in age and black, not that her colour should matter but it sort of does. When 17-year-old Maggie (Diana Silvers) accepts an invite to party at her place with a bunch of her schoolmates she’s definitely up for it.

There is a hidden agenda concerning Sue Ann’s experience in high school when she was bullied rotten and now she has an opportunity to return the compliment with the children of her tormentors. The kids are on the dull side. You don’t feel much empathy for them or for Sue Ann although Spencer is good enough to hold the film together single-handed, if there is enough to hold.

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The script fails to find terror lurking in this psychopath’s memory bank although director Tate Taylor has form. Winter’s Bone which introduced Jennifer Lawrence to a waiting world and earned her an Oscar nom included him as a support actor and then later with The Help was one, which gave Spencer the Academy Award for real, he was there as writer/director.

With those glitter bugs on Taylor’s CV it is disappointing to find Ma lacking in so many important areas.

Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2019
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Ma packshot
A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and lets them party at her house... but things take a sinister turn.
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