Ma: A Quick Overview of a Psychological Horror

Darius Hammond, Staff Editor

According to a recent Google search, the terms psychotic and crazy, crazy is labeled as mentally deranged, with psychotic having the definition of mentally ill. All of which defines the role of Sue Ann, played by Octavia Spencer, an elderly outcast who befriends a group of teenagers. At first, I thought that she was simply someone who wanted to be hip and fit in with the crowd. Similar to the Toys-R-Us theme song, “I don’t want to grow up…”, Sue Ann gives them the ultimate getaway location at her basement, where the teenagers are free to party their lives away.

SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers follow immediately after this small sentence.

As the movie continues, we see Sue Ann becoming more attached to the teenagers and acting weirder. As a lover of suspense, thrillers, and horror, I was confused as to what genre this movie belonged in. With a slight comedic approach, Ma reminded me of the recent horror movies that felt the need to add some comedy flavor. It always took time for me to see Octavia Spencer as a threat. Her normal roles that she has played in provided a motherly characteristic filled with tough love. Ma, on the other hand, showed a side that I have never seen from Octavia Spencer, and that side is the need to be accepted, the feeling of loneliness, and down right crazy.

It wasn’t until the climax of the movie, that we realized that her psychotic approach was a result of extreme torment in her teenage years. The twist occurs when we realize that the teenagers that she befriends are the offspring of each person that tormented her in high school. Somewhat clever, we begin to understand crazy. She definitely has a reason, but we all know revenge is a dish best left unserved. Throughout the climax, we see the pieces fall into place for a disturbing ending that reinvents the wheel for dying with a satisfaction. Clearly, Ma is an acquired taste. Psychological horror is a perfect way to describe Ma. With a ranking of 54% by Rotten Tomatoes, I would personally recommend this movie as it’d be great watching in the comfort of your home without spending the extra money on movie tickets or having to physically sit in a movie theatre to experience.