If one thing is clear: Black folks continue to make their mark in the horror and thriller genre this year.
First up is Jordan Peele’s anticipated second feature film “Us,” and now there’s Octavia Spencer’s “Ma.” And by the looks of it, it’s super creepy, like Misery creepy.
According to Universal Pictures:
“Everybody’s welcome at Ma’s. But good luck getting home safe.
Oscar winner Octavia Spencer stars as Sue Ann, a loner who keeps to herself in her quiet Ohio town. One day, she is asked by Maggie, a new teenager in town (Diana Silvers, Glass), to buy some booze for her and her friends, and Sue Ann sees the chance to make some unsuspecting, if younger, friends of her own.
She offers the kids the chance to avoid drinking and driving by hanging out in the basement of her home. But there are some house rules: One of the kids has to stay sober. Don’t curse. Never go upstairs. And call her “Ma.”
But as Ma’s hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, what began as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare, and Ma’s place goes from the best place in town to the worst place on earth.”
Take a look:
Well damn Octavia!
Granted, I absolutely love horror films (and even make them myself), so obviously I’m excited to see this film. We’re long overdue for horror films that are centered on Black women in a nuanced way as opposed to us being made to play flat stereotypes, being the underdeveloped sidekick, the person to get killed off first or the one sacrificing our lives to save the white lead.
From the outside, films like “Ma” could also be important because they give Black actresses roles that are exciting, out-of-the-box and show real range. Most importantly, in Spencer’s case, this is a role that takes place in the present, as opposed to her past period pieces that include “The Help,” “Hidden Figures” and “The Shape Of Water.”
If done well and with conviction, “Ma” could be a breath of fresh air in the genre underscoring the fact that we need more films like this that highlight our talent, stories and experiences. But, I do have a few questions and thoughts:
- Since this film is also directed by Tate Taylor, who also directed “The Help,” I am a little nervous of how the topic of race will be handled in ‘Ma” That, and while I love Octavia, her doubling down on the validity and importance of Green Book, leaves me a little wary of her own racial politics as of late. Like “Get Out,” this film has the potential of being super timely and smart or it could be a tone deaf mess. Only time will tell.
- Speaking of race, other than Ma and the poor Black boy in the van (who doesn’t get a close-up in the trailer other than his face being painted in white), where are the other Black people? Does this town have a race problem and will that be an underlying theme of this film? I am here for that. And be clear: It doesn’t have to be, I’m just curious how Octavia’s casting changes the dynamics between the characters and her surroundings.
- Why is she so obsessed with these white people? When she Facetimed her wearing old girl’s earrings I was through!
- Which leads to me wonder is this a film about a Black woman seeking revenge on a town of entitled white folks who have it coming? That is something we haven’t really seen and I am definitely here for that.
- What’s up with those African masks in her house? And why can’t anyone else go upstairs? What is she hiding?
- Finally, why doesn’t anyone ever listen to Black people? When that boy told these folks to not hang out with Ma, they looked at him like he was the crazy one?
Now here’s what I do know for sure: If a 2-minute trailer can get me this engaged, spark questions and a create a serious desire to see more, it’s done its job.
Clearly, I am not alone. Black Twitter was on fire: