DVD tip: "Ma"
Director Tate Taylor could have gone two ways with this thriller: try a more sedate drama route or dive into overheated B-horror-flick territory. Alas, he went with the former. That might have worked had the script been better, but it’s pretty standard-issue. If he had gone over the top, it would have at least been entertaining in a ridiculous kind of way. Octavia Spencer is the best thing here, as a veterinarian’s assistant still traumatized by a horrible high-school incident. She starts buying booze for underage current high schoolers. She allows them to party in the basement of her out-of-the-way house. Do bad things happen? Of course! Allison Janney, who, like Spencer, starred in Taylor’s film version of “The Help,” makes a tart cameo as Spencer’s boss. You know what would have been better than "Ma"? Seeing Spencer and Janney go toe-to-toe for the entirety of the movie's run time.
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