MA (2019) Reviews and overview


‘Get home safe’

Ma is a 2019 American horror feature film directed by Tate Taylor (Girl on the Train) from a screenplay co-written with Scotty Landes, based on the latter’s storyline. Jason Blum, Tate Taylor, and John Norris co-produced. The Blumhouse movie stars Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, Missi Pyle McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo and Dante Brown.


Sue Ann is a loner who keeps to herself 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 if younger, friends of her own. She offers the kids the chance to avoid drinking and driving by hanging out in the basement of her home.

However, there are some house 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 terrorising nightmare, and Ma’s place goes from the best place in town to the worst place on earth…


Ma is a thriller that embraces its slightly campy nature, but with a serious tone. And thanks to Octavia’s excellent work, it’s easy to entertain in Sue Ann and her undeniably extreme obsession with Maggie and her pals […] And most importantly, you have Ms Spencer giving us a lively villain.” Arrow in the Head

“Spencer’s Sue Ann is a profoundly isolated person, a middle-aged divorceé stuck in a dead-end job who’s further pushed to the margins by virtue of being a black woman in a majority white town. She dispenses moments of over-the-top insanity economically, and even then there are poignant hints of sadness and desperation behind both her plastered-on smile and her hair-trigger rage.” AV Film

“The movie itself is a little longer than it needs to be, even though it compensates in the finale, but Octavia Spencer’s “Ma” has the potential to become a classic horror villain. However this movie ends (and I’m not saying a word), halfway through the running time it’s already clear that she could headline her own franchise.” Bloody Disgusting

Ma gets wild and weird several times over, but it never loses its B-movie spirit, having a good time with Sue Ann’s madness and Maggie’s full-body shock. As stalker cinema goes, it’s a passable ride. Embrace the feature as something more absurdly sinister, and Ma has a decent set-up and miraculously manages to stick the landing.”

“While still making you care about its characters – including, surprisingly, its titular antagonist – it’s a flick that works because of its wonderful self-awareness and crowd-pleasing weirdness, ultimately making it simply a very entertaining big-screen experience.” CinemaBlend

“Taylor directs in an uncluttered manner, and even if the story drags during the second act, Ma reminded me at times of a simple throwback to horror from the ’70s and ’80s, without necessarily copying the stylistic tics or visual signifiers of those eras. “Elevated” or “enhanced” horror this ain’t, and that’s what makes spending time in Ma’s basement kind of fun.” Den of Geek!

“Spencer works hard to keep us on her side and it’s her messy, melancholic character work that endures, a portrait of a woman broken and breaking those around her that’s really quite hard to shake. Ma is a few more drafts from perfection but the actor playing her is the real deal.” The Guardian

“So it’s trashy. Big deal. If you want gore with an emotional core you’ll walk out of ma feeling on top of the world.” Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

“The tail end of the film demonstrates its chilly clutches but unfortunately does not compensate for the choppy build-up leading to the creepy climax. Distracting editing, cliched characterizations, lazy-minded jumps and jolts, and a wasted turn by Spencer’s alter ego’s off-the-wall tendencies should land Ma in a numbing nursing home full of empty scares.” Screen Anarchy


Ma was released theatrically on May 31, 2019. With only a $5 million budget, the movie took $59,929,935 worldwide.

Ma was released by Universal Pictures on Digital on August 20, 2019, before being available on Blu-ray and DVD on September 3rd. The latter release includes an alternate ending.

Cast and characters:

Octavia Spencer … Sue Ann
Diana Silvers … Maggie
Juliette Lewis … Erica
McKaley Miller … Haley
Corey Fogelmanis … Andy
Gianni Paolo … Chaz
Dante Brown … Darrell
Tanyell Waivers … Genie
Dominic Burgess … Stu
Heather Marie Pate … Ashley
Tate Taylor … Officer Grainger
Luke Evans … Ben
Margaret Fegan … Stephanie
Missi Pyle … Mercedes
Allison Janney … Doctor Brooks

Filming locations:

Natchez, Mississippi

Technical details:

99 minutes
Dolby Digital
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1

All images are copyright © and courtesy of Blumhouse/Universal.

YouTube reviews:

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