“MA” CREEPY, TWISTED TALE OF OBSESSION; “TREASURE” ON TV
Meanwhile, Erica (Juliette Lewis), a graduate of the same high school during Sue Ann’s time, moves back to her hometown from California, with her teen daughter Maggie (Diana Silvers), after a failed marriage and loss of a job.
While her mom takes the job of a cocktail waitress at a casino, Maggie is left pretty much to her own devices and falls in which a bunch of fellow teens who like to party with alcohol at the rock piles in a deserted area.
Prompted by ringleader Haley (McKaley Miller) to ask strangers to buy beer for the group outside a liquor store, Maggie is constantly rebuffed until Sue Ann comes along walking a three-legged dog and reluctantly agrees.
On a subsequent occasion, Sue Ann offers the teens the chance to avoid drinking and driving and being harassed by the police by hanging out in the basement of her home located in the countryside.
Laying down some ground rules, the most important of which is to never go upstairs, Sue Ann, who asks to be called Ma, joins the fun with a tight group that includes Andy (Corey Fogelmanis), who becomes Maggie’s boyfriend, Chaz (Gianni Paolo), and Darrell (Dante Brown). Without a great deal of subtlety, Sue Ann is seen in flashbacks to her school days when she was badly treated by the classmates who now have their kids in high school. Andy’s father, Ben (Luke Evans), was a key instigator of the abusive behavior that has not been forgotten.
It doesn’t take long for Sue Ann to exhibit patterns of strange behavior. At one basement gathering, she orders Andy at gunpoint to strip naked and then laughs that it was all a joke as he stands fully exposed in his birthday suit. Recoiling at the bizarre turn of events, the kids decide to forego the party scene until Sue Ann pursues their forgiveness with endless text messages and weird selfie videos, and before long, half of the school has joined in the festivities in the basement.
For very good reason, Maggie grows suspicious of Sue Ann’s intentions, when everyone else in her group is oblivious to the signs of Ma’s malevolent, psychopathic behavior shining bright like downtown Las Vegas neon. Not to spoil how the revenge-horror unfolds, suffice it to say that Octavia Spencer’s role, while not exactly understated, is sufficiently creepy and gleefully twisted that “Ma” proves entertaining despite its often inane plot twists.