What You Need To Know:
MA has the typical scares and jumps as any other horror movie, but lacks the depth in story in order to make it a great movie. MA is entertaining, but it has many elements that are very illogical, making it difficult for viewers to completely be immersed in this tale. Besides this, MA contains an extremely high amount of questionable content, with abundant obscenities and profanities, as well as an inordinate amount of blood, violence and lewd references. In this case, MOVIEGUIDE® advises moviegoers to forget about visiting MA.
MA begins as Maggie and her mother Erica, played by Juliette Lewis, have just moved back to the town where Erica grew up, now that she is divorced. New to the school, Maggie doesn’t seem to have a problem adapting, as she gets invited to a party on her first day. However, the party gets canceled so the teenagers decide to just get some alcohol and drive around the town. They are hanging out outside of a store trying to get an adult to buy alcohol for them, when Sue Ann happens along. She agrees to get everything for them, but then later, she is seen calling one of the teenager’s dad informing him of where his son is and what he is doing.
The group is hanging out at an abandoned rock pile when the police show up. They are able to get away without getting into serious trouble, but the next day, they decide that they shouldn’t be hanging out there anymore. Suddenly, Sue Ann appears back in their lives ready to buy them more liquor and offering to let them use her basement so that they have a safe place to illegally drink. Not long after, Sue Ann has a new name, “Ma,” and her basement has quickly transformed into the cool new party scene for everyone in the local high school. However, some of the girls start to notice that some of their jewelry’s disappearing, and they begin to suspect Ma. However, as soon as they decide to not hang out there anymore, Ma begins to blow up their phones with text messages and videos, and even shows up at the high school to figure out why they’re ignoring her.
Ma has to devise a new plan if she wants to stay in the loop. She asks the group to meet her at the rock pile. She tells them she’s found out that she has cancer and the treatment has been making her act strange. She apologizes for her behavior and guilts them into coming over the next weekend. The group feels bad for her, but Maggie is still suspicious of her. Maggie decides she doesn’t want to hang out there anymore and implores her boyfriend to do the same. Soon, it’s revealed that many of the teenagers in the group had parents who went to school with Ma back in high school, and there was a mysterious event involving all of them that’s scarred Sue Ann to this day. The memories of this traumatic event begin to haunt Sue Ann again, and it makes her quickly go down a dark path of revenge.
Although MA is entertaining, the story has many elements that don’t completely make logical sense. This makes it difficult for viewers to be convinced of what’s happening, leaving a feeling of dissatisfaction. Also, the motivation for the main character’s revenge plot isn’t quite there, with no previous history or evidence of capability for the violence that ensues. The other characters are written to make very poor decisions that entangle them into the crazy situation they find themselves. The cast does a great job, and Octavia Spencer is quite haunting as “Ma,” but regrettably, the lack of logic in the storyline makes it hard to get on board completely with the story and the characters.
MA follows a primarily pagan worldview with revenge being the driving motivation in the storyline, no moral compass for guidance, and little punishment for wrongdoing. Although what happens to Sue Ann’s character in the movie is not right by any means, the way she goes about taking revenge is also wrong, making everything worse than it was before. Besides this, MA has an extremely high amount of foul language, sexual content and violence, with cringe worthy bloody scenes. There’s nothing redemptive in the story or in any of the characters. In this case, MOVIEGUIDE® advises moviegoers to forget about visiting MA.