We’re in a golden age of horror. Films like Get Out, A Quiet Place, and Hereditary proved once and for all that genre films could be smart, scary, and cohesive. Ma is… not exactly any of those things. But with Octavia Spencer in her first ever (!) starring role, it’s still a delight.
In the film, Spencer plays veterinary assistant Sue-Ann, though she prefers to go by Ma. After agreeing to buy a group of teenagers booze and offering up her basement as their hangout, Ma becomes creepily attached to the high schoolers. And when they seek to distance themselves from their increasingly clingy new pal, she doesn’t exactly take rejection well.
The hokey, ‘80s slasher-style story is buoyed by Spencer’s measure-perfect performance. Here, she gets her revenge for every dully maternal character she’s ever played, every sassy nurse. And the supporting cast of adults—which includes Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, and Allison Janney—is amazing. Still, Ma left us with a few questions.
1.Why did Erica want to move back to her home town when she seemingly has no friends, family, or support system there?
2. Did Erica’s bedazzled bow tie come with her work outfit, or is that something you have to procure on your own?
3. If Maggie hadn’t taken Haley’s number, could all of this had been avoided or would everyone have just died?
4. Why did this town decide to keep a pile of rocks lying around? They really can’t do anything about the rocks?
5. Who gives their teenager a van? What legal, wholesome things does Ben expect his son to do in a van?
6. How did Ma’s dog lose its fourth leg?
7. How did Ma clock everyone’s first and last names?
8. Also, the kids have a van. Why go to Ma’s house at all? Just drink in the damn van.
9. Seriously not one of these kids has irresponsible parents and an empty house?
10. How does Ma keep her job as a vet nurse when she quite literally never does her job?
11. No one was bothered when Ma pulled a gun on Chad? We’re just going to keep partying after that?
12. And also, isn’t stripping a boy at gunpoint sexual assault with a deadly weapon?
13. Does Ma actually keep pizza rolls in the house?
14. Why are these youths so into Ma’s ‘70s hits?
15. Why is Ma so into these ‘70s hits? She clearly came of age in the ‘80s.
16. Who is giving Sue-Ann these mushroom cuts and why do they they still have a beautician’s license?
17. How many alumni of this hometown high school are named after cars, and are there any lower end brands represented? A Chevy perhaps, or maybe a nice girl named Toyota?
18. So the school’s just not checking on Genie at all? None of the vice principals have watched The Act?
19. Who has the money as a single mother working as a vet’s assistant to purchase a motorized wheelchair… for a con? What was the con?
20. If everyone had Androids and Ma weren’t able to FaceTime them, would any of this have been an issue?
21. Why does Ma repeatedly make it clear that drinking with a group of kids is ‘breaking her rules’ but also sends FaceTime messages where she says ‘don’t make me drink alone!’
22. So Alison Janney only gets like three lines? We couldn’t have had a vet-centric subplot?
23. Is the same woman giving Ma a mushroom cut also dying Alison Janney’s hair platinum blonde?
24. Where did Ma get that early 2000s bedazzled baseball cap and how might an interested party acquire one of her own?
25. Did anyone find Mercedes’ body on the road? Did anyone care?
26. Why did Maggie and Haley think it was a good idea to break into a crazy person’s house?
27. How does the cellar door, which has been proven to lock from the outside, also lock from the inside when it’s convenient? Why is the story behind the locking mechanism incongruent?
28. Why did Erica give a big speech about Maggie being grounded and being forced to run errands with her only to leave her daughter home alone and not check on her until morning?
29. There was a door that Erica walked out of after going off on Ma that said ‘PUSH,’ but when Erica exited, she pulled. Why?
30. Did Maggie get her mom’s earrings back? What about the bracelet?
31. Was Ben’s penis a prosthetic? If not, whose flaccid penis is that giant?
32. So what happens after one gets a dog blood infusion?
33. Is there a dog blood type similar enough to a human’s that you could live through getting a dog blood transfusion?
34. What type of thread is best if you’re going to sew someone’s mouth shut? Twine, perhaps?
35. Why did Ma have so many elaborate candles to get knocked over?