Starring: Octavia Spencer, Luke Evans, Juliette Lewis, Missi Pyle, Allison Janney, Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, McKaley Miller, Dante Brown, Gianni Paolo
OUR RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Psychological horror directed by Tate Taylor. Ma (2019) follows a lonely woman, Sue Ann “Ma” (Octavia Spencer), who befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host
Maggie: Excuse me? Hi.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Yeah?
[referring to the piece of paper with their booze order]
Maggie: Um, would you mind buying this for my friends and I? I have money for it.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Not interested, kid. Come on.
Maggie: I know it’s weird, but please?
Sue Ann “Ma”: You want to spend the night in jail? Foes that sound fun to you?
Sue Ann “Ma”: Oh. Okay. Now I see what’s going on. A man sending a girl to do his dirty work. Guys, I used to do the same thing when I was your age.
Andy: We’re sorry. Could you hook us up, though?
Sue Ann “Ma”: Mm. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if you got into an accident.
Andy: Oh, well, I’m driving, and I don’t drink. We were just going to go to the rock pile for a little bit. I promise.
Sue Ann “Ma”: I know where that is. Shoot. We used to hang out there all the time when I was a kid.
[she pauses for a moment; to Maggie]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Hell. Hold this dog.
Sue Ann “Ma”: And don’t tell.
[Sue Ann takes their order and walks to the alcohol store]
[seeing Sue Ann has brought them their order of booze]
Haley: Wooh! There’s my girl.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Okay. They didn’t have whatever Fireball is, so I got After Shock. Man said it’s the same thing. This never happened, okay?
Andy: Thanks again for doing this, ma’am.
Sue Ann “Ma”: For doing what, darling?
[to the dog]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Come on, baby. Come on, sweetie.
[Sue Ann starts to walk off with the dog]
Chaz: Yoh, that old chick wants to sit on your face, dude.
Andy: What, you think so?
Chaz: Like, your entire face.
Erica: You smell like pot.
Maggie: I didn’t smoke anything.
Erica: Who were you with?
Maggie: Just some kids from school. I left you a note.
Erica: Yeah, you leave a note when you’re up to something. Why didn’t you just text me?
Maggie: Uh, I don’t know. My phone died. We just drove around.
Erica: And you got high. Maggie.
Maggie: I didn’t smoke anything. And they asked me just to go out, so I said okay. It’s really not that big a deal. I’m not going to be some f***ing loser and tell them not to smoke because I don’t.
Erica: Do not talk to me like that. Come back here.
Maggie: Why should I wait around for you while you’re at work all day? How is that fair?
Erica: I’m glad you’re fitting in. I really am. I want you to make smarter decisions than that.
Maggie: Like all the amazing decisions you’ve made.
Erica: [as Maggie is about to leave the house] You look like you’re going to see a boy. Are you going to meet a boy?
Maggie: We’re just friends.
Erica: Okay, well, be smart, and call me if you need me to come get you. I won’t be mad. Promise?
Sue Ann “Ma”: [after buying more booze for Maggie and her friends] Why don’t you just, uh, follow me down the street, and you can pay me and get the stuff. I got eyes on me. I don’t want to lose my job.
Andy: Cool. Yeah, I’ll follow you.
[Sue Ann goes over to her car]
Chaz: Secret hand-offs? Are you freaking kidding me right now? F**k yes!
Maggie: [as they are following Sue Ann in her car] Okay. I feel like she really doesn’t want to get caught.
Andy: It wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t drive so slow.
Haley: [as they drive up to Sue Ann’s house] This place is creepy.
Chaz: This is f***ing sketchy.
Andy: No, it’s good.
[Andy gets out of the van to walk over to Sue Ann]
Chaz: Yeah, I think she wants to bang him for real.
Maggie: Oh, shut up.
Chaz: What, are you jealous, Maggie? You jealous?
Haley: [referring to Sue Ann] Did you give her the money?
Andy: Uh, well, kind of. She said we could hang out in her basement if we didn’t want to drive around all night. I didn’t know what to say.
Haley: I mean, I’m down. I got to pee really bad.
Darrell: No. No, no, no, no. We don’t know this chick, so, no.
Chaz: No cops, though.
Andy: What do you think?
Maggie: [sighs] Okay.
Sue Ann “Ma”: [as they enter Sue Ann’s basement] It calms me down so much to know that you guys aren’t out there drinking and driving. I mean, to be honest, I would rather you be safe. If you’re going to do it somewhere, it might as well be here, right?
Haley: Do you have a bathroom I can use?
Sue Ann “Ma”: It ain’t much, but it’s all you.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Okay. The bar is open.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Okay, everybody, listen up real quick. My only house rules are, don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.
Sue Ann “Ma”: And don’t spit on my floors, please.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Oh, and, you, I’m going to need your keys. You got to check in with me before walking out that door, because I got to know you’re safe to drive.
Andy: Cool. Yeah. Fine.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Okay, oh, and nobody go upstairs. That’s my world, and right now it’s a mess. So, uh, you guys are free to do whatever you want to do down here, but, you know.
Chaz: Hell yeah.
[Sue Ann gives him a disapproving look]
Chaz: Heck, yeah. Thanks, lady.
Darrell: You got any Pizza Rolls, Ma?
Sue Ann “Ma”: Ma? Boy, you are too much. I’ll get you some snacks. Go ahead and, uh, make yourselves at home.
Haley: Guys, this is so sick.
Maggie: It was nice to meet you. And, hey, thanks for letting us hang out.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Oh, please. I haven’t had this much fun in God knows how long. Get home safe. That’s all I care about.
[finding a case of booze with a note from Sue Ann]
Andy: “Love, Ma?”
[Maggie’s and Haley’s phones chime and they get a video message from Sue Ann]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Hey. I was just thinking, why wait for the weekend? It’s five o’clock somewhere!
Maggie: How did she get our numbers?
Haley: Oh, my God.
Chaz: Probably Haley. She gives it to everyone when she’s f***ed up.
Haley: Uh, I can’t argue with that.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Those earrings are beautiful, Maggie.
Maggie: Oh, thanks. My mom gave them to me. I mean, well, my dad gave them to my mom when they first started going out, and then she gave them to me. I mean, they’re broken up now, but, you know.
Sue Ann “Ma”: You got a sweet mama, huh?
Sue Ann “Ma”: [referring to Andy] He’s a cutie.
Maggie: Yeah, he is.
Sue Ann “Ma”: You be careful now. Take it real slow. Men are dogs. They only want one thing, and you don’t want to mess your life up with a baby.
Maggie: Jesus, you sound like my mother.
Andy: What’s wrong?
Maggie: I don’t want to hang out at Ma’s anymore. And I don’t want you there either.
[Maggie just looks at him]
Andy: Okay, I won’t.
Haley: [Sue Ann sees the video message that Haley has sent] Alright, listen up, b**ches. Everybody block Ma for good. I’m serious, that b**ch is crazy. Look, my grandmother is very sweet. We’ll see if we can like hang out in her lame-a** house instead. Okay?
Nail Salon Patron: Do you mind?
Sue Ann “Ma”: How about you mind your own damn business!
Nail Salon Patron: You’re making your business my business.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Not today, old lady! Not today!
Nail Salon Patron: You b**ch.
Sue Ann “Ma”: [Maggie sees a video message from Sue Ann] Hey, this is Ma. I got a new number! Just picking up a few things. Don’t make me drink alone. And I don’t want to hear any of this “I have homework” crap. Don’t make me drink alone.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Don’t make me drink alone. Don’t make me drink alone.
[in a different video message from Sue Ann]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Are you guys mad at me for something? I mean, I, uh, risked my job so that you could have fun, and we definitely did. The least you could do is, you know, say thank you.
Haley: [as they watch Sue Ann from their car] I’ve been missing my grandma’s ring, and my mom is going to f***ing kill me if I don’t find it. And I bet she has it.
Maggie: You know, I’m missing the earrings my mom gave me.
Haley: We’re going to that b**ch’s house.
Ben: Why the f*** is my son spending time at your house?
Sue Ann “Ma”: You need to talk to him.
Ben: Well, I’m talking to you, right now.
Sue Ann “Ma”: I don’t know what you want me to say, Ben. Could we please not do this here?
Ben: Well, here’s what I think. I think you’re trying to get back at me. Come on. We both know you had a thing for me, and I barely gave you the time of day. You’re a loser, Sue Ann. You always have been, and it’s pathetic. Some people just don’t change, do they?
Sue Ann “Ma”: No. They don’t.
Ben: This is your one warning, Sue Ann. And if I hear that my son has ended up anywhere near you, or your damn house, I won’t be calling the police. I’ll handle it myself. You understand me?
Maggie: Genie is Ma’s daughter, and she never told us. Okay, she can walk. And she’s been in that house the whole time we’ve been there. Ma went to high school with our parents. Like she tore out pages from her yearbook and pasted herself in pictures with your dad, and my mom, and Mercedes. I mean, it’s so creepy!
Andy: Who cares? Pancreatic cancer’s some f***ed up s**t. All that medicine makes you do some weird stuff.
Maggie: You can’t be serious.
Andy: My mom acted weird too before she died.
Maggie: Oh. I’m sorry about your mom. But I don’t think Sue Ann has cancer. I think she used to be in love with your dad, and I think she’s like in love with you now.
Andy: Well, duh.
Maggie: Oh, my God.
Andy: I’m kidding.
Maggie: You’re totally into it.
Andy: I’m sort of kidding, yeah.
Erica: Hi, honey! I want you to meet someone. This is Sue Ann.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Mags?
Sue Ann “Ma”: Nice to meet you, Maggie.
Maggie: [they shake hands] Nice to meet you too.
Erica: She works at the vet where we take Lou, and then she was just stopping in to check on how he was doing.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Oh, just a friendly follow-up to make sure there wasn’t a reaction to the shots.
Erica: [referring to Sue Ann] And guess what. We went to high school together, with Ben and Mercedes.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Mm. So, uh, where do you go to school, Maggie?
Maggie: I go to Franklin.
Sue Ann “Ma”: I know how hard it can be to make friends.
Erica: Well, she’s doing good. She’s made some great friends. Really nice kids. I’m proud of her.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Oh, shoot. Look at me.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Always running behind. Sorry to just drop by unannounced. I just get so attached to these animals so quickly. There’s probably something wrong with me.
Erica: Oh, please. Thank you so much. Come by anytime. You’re welcome.
[as Erica hugs Sue Ann, Sue Ann gives a nasty look to Maggie]
Sue Ann “Ma”: It was so good to see you.
Erica: You too.
Sue Ann “Ma”: And, Maggie, you look after that dog for me now.
[she leaves with an evil intentions showing on her face]
Sue Ann “Ma”: [as she has Ben tied up in her bed] What you did to me, the humiliation, it never goes away.
Ben: Please, Sue Ann.
Sue Ann “Ma”: But then it hit me, “Sue Ann, you’re thinking about this the wrong way.” You see, you treated me like a dog, because that’s what you are. You, you’re no man, Ben Hawkins.
[she starts to pump, Maggie’s dog, Louie’s blood into his body]
Ben: What the f*** is that? Please, Sue Ann. I was just a kid.
Sue Ann “Ma”: So was I, m*therf***er.
[she then slashes his wrist]
Ben: No. No! No, no, no.
[Sue Ann watches Ben as he dies]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Hey, Erica.
Erica: If you ever come near my house or my daughter again, I’m calling the police.
Sue Ann “Ma”: What on earth are you talking about?
Erica: What kind of mother parties with high schoolers?
Sue Ann “Ma”: I think you’ve had a little too much coffee. Excuse me.
Erica: I’m not joking here. Back the f*** off.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Oh, I know how to deal with your type. Pretty, athletic, popular. But then you did move home to sling cocktails at casinos…
Erica: They’re children! What the f*** is wrong with you?
Sue Ann “Ma”: How does it feel to be on the outside looking in? Hurts, huh? Well, I can assure you that the view from the center is amazing.
Erica: You need help.
Sue Ann “Ma”: Sounds like someone’s a little jealous. A little jealous of Sue Ann! Think I thought we had some kind of a connection, but you just threw it all away. You threw it all away!
[as turns to walk away]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Ungrateful b**ch. To think I took care of Mercedes for you.
[Sue Ann sends Maggie a photo of herself and Andy, then she gets a recorded video message]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Maggie, you’re missing out. And look. Oh, look who I found.
[Sue Anne is having a party in her basement, where Andy is also there]
Maggie: Are you f***ing kidding?
Sue Ann “Ma”: He’s mine now. Thanks for these earrings.
[Maggie awakens to find herself tied up in Sue Ann’s basement]
Sue Ann “Ma”: I can feel those big doe eyes watching me. Maggie, you are something else. That much diazepam can knock out a Great Dane for five hours.
Sue Ann “Ma”: You know, some people just fit right in. It comes effortlessly. Those perfect little touches. Perfect skin. Oh, that perfect skin.
[referring to Chaz’s stomach, who is unconscious]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Perfect belly. Must be nice, Most Handsome.
[she then irons Chaz’s stomach]
[a horrified Ashley tries to run off]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Where you going?
[Sue Ann knocks her unconscious with the iron in her hand]
[back to Sue Anne’s basement, where we she has tied up Maggie and her friends]
Sue Ann “Ma”: And then Haley, Haley. Most Popular, born with the gift of gab.
[to the unconscious Haley]
Sue Ann “Ma”: I need a man, huh? This ought to shut you up for once.
[she starts to sew Haley’s mouth shut]
Sue Ann “Ma”: [to Maggie as she watches in horror] You know how hard it is to know that everybody’s having fun without you, without even considering that you might want to join in? And the hard part is, it’s when they can’t even see you standing right beside them. I’m sorry, Darrell. They’ve only got room for one of us.
[she starts painting Darrell’s face white, who is unconscious]
[tied up with the others in the basement, Andy awakens]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Darling.
Andy: Ma, are you mad at us?
[Sue Anne unties him and helps him stand]
Sue Ann “Ma”: Oh. Come here. Come on, up, up. Oh, you’re a big boy. Mmm, you smell good. Just like your daddy.
[as she holds onto Andy]
Sue Ann “Ma”: This feels nice. Yeah. Like we’re the only two people in the world. You know who we are? The Cutest Couple.
Andy: We are.
Sue Ann “Ma”: You’re Most Charming too.
Andy: And I love you.
[they kiss, then Sue Ann stabs him in the stomach]
Maggie: [to Sue Ann after she has stabbed Andy] Why are you doing this? You need help. You need help.
Sue Ann “Ma”: [referring to Maggie] She’s really just like her mother. You tell her! Tell her how weak you were.
Erica: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, okay, Sue Ann? What happened to you should have never happened. And I should have stopped it, okay?! I should have stopped it!
Sue Ann “Ma”: But you didn’t! You didn’t! You didn’t!
Maggie: [as Maggie stabs Sue Ann] I am not weak and I’m not my mother.