Ma (2019)

5.5

Overall

5.5/10

Pros

  • Octavia Spencer is great.
  • A scene toward the end is really intense.

Cons

  • Trailer spoils the end.
  • Pacing issues.
  • Plot shift doesn't really work.

Ma (2019 starring Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis. Directed by Tate Taylor.

Anyone who has listened to the Final Guys podcast over the past year or so knows that I’ve been on the warpath over movie trailers. I refuse to go to the theater to see a movie that has obviously been spoiled by the trailer. I have Pet Semetary (2019) to thank for pushing me over the edge.

Ma was the first casualty of my newfound crusade. If you’ve seen the trailer, you can probably tell why it pissed me off. They show a scene from the end of the movie that erased all the tension while I watched it because I knew what was coming.

So, I refused to check this one out in the theater. And I’m part of a podcast that watches and reviews a ton of horror movies. These trailers annoy me that much.

And here’s the thing – Ma isn’t a bad movie. It isn’t going to make my top ten list of 2019, but it’s the kind of flick that I typically would have seen on the big screen.

Octavia Spencer is a lot of fun here. As always, she’s a cut above everyone else when it comes to her craft. If you’d told me that a woman of her age and stature could be intimidating in a movie, I wouldn’t have believed you. But she pulls it off here. Spencer is the biggest reason to watch this one. She’s killer in one scene toward the end that had me on edge.

The story is simple, which is fine, but has a big pacing problem. Not a whole helluva lot happens in the first two acts. It makes the off-the-rails zaniness of the final reel feel out of place.

A shift from a stalker plot to a revenge thriller toward the end doesn’t really work for me either. I think going one way or the other would have flowed a bit better. It might have fixed the pacing issue. Sticking with one direction might have made the film a bit more intense too. It just wasn’t scary.

But still, Ma is a solid effort that’s worth a watch when it hits a streaming service. Most of my complaints here have been about the marketing, not the movie, but I’ve gotta draw the line with these goddamn trailers somewhere.

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