I love going to see shit horror movies with my sister. So imagine my disappointment when our plans were thwarted as we discovered that Ma is actually good. And not, good for a shit horror movie good. But actually good. Good for a horror, good for a drama.
Rather than being about teens versus the villain, it is a character study of a woman whose trauma has lived inside her so long, growing, that containing it has warped her. This is very much the last chapter of a long story, in which poison has boiled unseen, until the slightest discomfit sends it spewing in all directions.
And of course, the person you have to thank for that is Octavia Spencer, who is excellent in this. She is able to really hold your sympathy, even as she spins ever deeper into violence. She just plays this with such pain and yearning, you’re rooting for her to pull out of this for her own sake, save herself from being utterly consumed by her demons.
This is not the binary heroes/villains teen horror movie you might think it is. The teens are nice people. Ma was a nice person once. But bad things happen to good people for no reason.