Film Reviews

Film Review: Ma (2019)

Ma and her teenage captives Ma (2019)
via Blumhouse
  • Director: Tate Taylor
  • Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans
  • Rating: B

I’ve waited eagerly for Ma since I saw the first trailer months ago. Finally, I saw the film today, and it didn’t disappoint. Although I am going to take a second here to complain about trailers. They do give too much away. I’m making it a priority to not watch them anymore. It sucks because I do enjoy a good movie preview but not at the cost of suspense and surprise.

While it wasn’t as ludicrous and campy as I was hoping it would be, Octavia Spencer is a national treasure who could elevate a Taco Bell menu reading on-screen. You have to work hard not to enjoy yourself when she’s chewing the scenery as Ma. Her genuine enjoyment of the role froths into the audience. Octavia Spencer is infectiously gleeful about playing someone so wicked.

Had any other actor played the role of Sue Ann, I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun. I can admit there were some strange plot elements (Gypsy Blanchard called, she wants her life story back), some underutilized characters (Alison Janney, of all people, is a glorified extra for some reason), and less outright horror than I would have liked, but Ma heartily embraces its faults.

It asks you not to overthink and to let the sheer absurdity entertain you instead. No, I don’t know why Ma had it out for some of the teenagers. Some of whom appeared to get roped in by association alone. Yes, there were plenty of plot holes. But at the end of the day, I wanted to see a movie where Octavia Spencer terrorized a group of idiot teenagers and runs over Missi Pyle with a car. And that is damn well what I got! Ma is utter insanity and never wanted it to stop.

Ma is now playing in theaters.

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Film/Television

3 reasons to watch You Might Be the Killer on Shudder

Debuting on Shudder this past Thursday, You Might Be the Killer is a satirical, genre-savvy, delightfully twisted, new approach to the slasher film. 

When the camp counselors at Camp Clear Vista start dying in gruesome ways all across the grounds, Sam (Fran Kanz) must call his good friend Chuck (a horror connoisseur who works at a local video store played by Alyson Hannigan) for help. They work together to try and discover the identity of this crazed killer before anyone else dies. If you’re a fan of films like The Cabin in the WoodsScream, or even The Final Girls, then You Might be the Killer should be right up your alley.

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Film/Television

Into the Dark – Pooka – Review: Pooka Me, Pooka You

Look at all the pretty lights. – Or flames. We open this episode with a creepy visual of a discarded plush toy laying amidst burning wreckage on a road. We don’t see this stuffed animal’s face but I’m instantly imbibed with a chill, I’m guessing this toy is “Pooka”. A disembodied voice echoes in a creepy whisper as an overlay of flashing red and blue lights instills the visual of police cars. A man lingers in the shadows, face captured by the neon prism of color.

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Film/Television

Born to Kill is an unsettling miniseries you might have missed

Delving inside the mind of a teenage boy with psychopathic tendencies, Born to Kill is an unsettling Channel 4 miniseries that may have flown under your radar.

With the bountiful amount of media available across all streaming services on a monthly basis, it’s easy to miss a few diamonds in the rough. Born to Kill is an excellent psychological thriller I missed out on when it debuted this past spring, but thanks to Shudder, I was able to binge all four episodes in one sitting.

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Film/Television

Into the Dark – Pooka – Advance Preview: Naughty or Nice

So we’ve tackled Halloween and Thanksgiving, up next for Hulu’s holiday horror anthology series, Into the Dark, is Christmas.

I’ll admit this episode did, at times, feel like a discarded Black Mirror script, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. Actually, this episode, film, whatever you want to call it, is, by far, my favorite of the three to air thus far. It’s a mixture between the dark cynical nature of Black Mirror and society’s addiction to technology, or in this case, toys (and Pooka is a technological based toy), that people relate to so well, a cerebral experience, absurdism, and a splash of B-movie antics and camp.

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Film/Television

The Cabin: A film heavy on atmosphere but thin on plot

The Cabin is a moody suspense film with surprisingly bold artistic choices that gets bogged down by weak dialogue, one-dimensional characters, and a thin plot.

Lush evergreens line miles of sparse highway as a couple drive to a family cabin. Said cabin is nestled deep in the woods, as demonstrated by several overhead shots of serpentine roads winding through fields of trees. The place they’re headed is the sort of place hidden from civilization, one hundred miles away from the nearest motel.

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Film/Television

Into the Dark – Flesh & Blood – Advance Preview: Gobble Gobble

Halloween has nearly wrapped up and we’re moving onwards towards the next big holiday: Thanksgiving, the holiday this episode of Into the Dark, titled “Flesh & Blood” is based around. Although, unlike the first episode, which felt very connected to Halloween, turkey day feels like a background player more than a main component. The story told here could have occurred at any time of year. I wish it had been more Thanksgiving-centric, but I digress.

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Film/Television

Why the time is right to restart the Piranha franchise

The Piranha franchise has been dormant for six years. Is it finally time to add another film to the popular horror-comedy killer fish film series?

The Piranha franchise is to B movies what Jaws is to blockbusters. Jaws (1975) is largely considered to be, not only one of the greatest films ever made, but the progenitor of the summer blockbuster. It certainly put Steven Spielberg on the map and paved the way for a new era of monster movies. The influences of Jaws are far-reaching, it inspired numerous copies, a plethora of shark attack films, and allowed Spielberg the opportunity to make films like E.T. and Jurassic Park. 

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Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Release Day: Slender Man

Slender Man officially released this past Monday, October 23rd! It’s the perfect book to read this time of year and a novel I truly believe finally gets the Slender Man story right, especially if you were as disappointed as I was in the recent film version!

The book is available for purchase in trade paperback, ebook, and audio formats!

If you’d like to check out my full review you can read it here.

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