During this spooky, we’ve seen a number of surprise horror films gain new life on streaming. One that’s gaining a lot of traction on Netflix right now is Ma. The 2019 film directed by Tate Taylor stars Octavia Spencer as the titular character who befriends a group of teenagers by letting them use her basement to party without getting caught.
While the premise is simple enough, the film is not. There are many twists and turns along the way. Spencer is predictably iconic in the lead role but Ma wasn’t particularly well-received. The film only has a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes and some critics have an issue with how it tackles racial themes. Keith Phipps of The Verge thought that the film didn’t address those themes strong enough.
“Watching Ma, it’s hard not to wish it either gave Spencer more space to work through some of the character’s contradictions over the course of a more thoughtful drama (with some killing thrown in for good measure, of course), or that it went all-in on being a trashy exploitation film that let the blood and social commentary flow freely,” Phipps wrote. “Instead, it tries to walk a middle road in addressing its racial angle, and the timidity doesn’t always serve it well.”
Regardless of there being controversy surrounding the film, it’s clearly resonated with audiences in South America. According to Flix Patrol, it’s one of the top five movies in the region today and is the 11th most popular film worldwide. It’s a divisive film but is worth watching for Spencer’s strange and menacing performance.
Ma is available to stream now on Netflix.