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The maniacal horror movie starring Octavia Spencer is currently in theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 53

Ma isn’t exactly a good movie, but it’s impossible not to be entertained. Octavia Spencer stars as Sue Ann, a small-town woman who buys liquor for a group of teenagers and offers to let them party in her basement rather than out at the pile of rocks they usually frequent. They’re skeptical at first, but eventually they accept, and for awhile, everything is great. But this is a horror movie, so naturally the setup quickly goes sideways.

Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help), Ma is both deranged and laced with comedy, and it goes down easy. The movie starts out feeling almost like a teen comedy; then, without any attempts at subtlety, it ramps up to a horror conflagration, combining tropes from gothic horror, tales of obsession, and something approaching an afterschool special about bullying. It’s easy enough to imagine a better version of Ma, but Spencer is having such a blast that this one will do just fine.

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