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Opening Date
25 Jul 2019
NC16 Violence & Coarse Language
99 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Horror, Thriller
Tate Taylor
Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney, Luke Evans
Everybody’s welcome at Ma’s. But good luck getting home safe. Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer stars as Sue Ann, a loner in her quiet Ohio town. One day, she is asked by Maggie, a new teenager in town (Diana Silvers), to buy some booze for her and her friends, and Sue Ann sees the chance to make some unsuspecting friends of her own. She offers the kids the chance to avoid drinking and driving by hanging out in her basement. But there are rules: One of the kids has to stay sober. Don’t curse. Never go upstairs. And call her “Ma.” But as Ma’s hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, what began as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare.
By Abel Teo  02 Aug 2019
Octavia Spencer is truly good at playing the underdog to great chilling effect with her simple but arresting acting in ‘Ma’.
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'Ma' is such an endearing term. Alas, it’s a term for disappointment and descent into inconsequence for this film. Let me be clear. ‘Ma’ is not so much a nail-biting terror like ‘Hostel' but more a psychological study on the consequence on bullying. With an NC-16 rating you should have seen that coming.

The story begins innocuously enough with teenager Maggie and her mother Erica moving into the latter’s hometown Ohio after Erica’s failed marriage. Maggie is shy and uncertain at first but soon begins to make friends with her new school mates and finding herself a boyfriend Andy. The kids befriend Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer), a veterinary assistant. Sue Ann helps the kids buy alcohol while at the same time got the kids busted by anonymously reporting them to Andy's father Ben, a cop. She manipulates their vulnerability by offering her basement as a get-together for them to drink without getting caught. Her one major rule - the house beyond the basement is out of bounds. Soon, Sue Ann is the unbelievably popular matron among the high school kids.

The teenagers soon begin to feel something is amiss with Sue Ann, whom she instructs the teenagers to call her ‘Ma’. Something about her doesn’t quite add up, especially when Maggie suspects that Sue Ann is hiding something and their personal items disappearing after each time they get drunk. ‘Ma’ begins to unravel as her past trauma begins to crack her facade making her increasingly unstable. It is revealed that many of the kids’ parents, including Maggie’s mother Erica and Andy’s father Ben whom Sue Ann had a crush on, were part of Sue Ann’s humiliation when they were once teenagers themselves.

The film takes a long time to build up the suspense with very little that really makes sense, and but all too soon unravels to be very little at the end.  The saving grace to this film that holds the entire film together as far as she can is Octavia Spencer. She is truly good at playing the underdog to great chilling effect with her simple but arresting acting. There are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments but not enough tension to raise your stress cortisol level beyond a mere blip.

The reason to watch ‘Ma’ is that you are a fan of Octavia Spencer, or if you would like to bring someone on a date without horrifying him or her when you are unsure if he or she has a strong stomach for violence.
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