Mom surprises in the most unimaginable ways - funny, indifferent and crazy episodes. Octavia Spencer takes her crazed stalker to legendary heights not seen since perhaps Michael Myers in Halloween. Moreover, director Tate Taylor wonderfully allows the supporting characters to shine in a story that already touches on many thematic areas.


The driving force behind this story is the idea that high school never ends. In other words, the shame, embarrassment and loneliness felt during the formative years do not disappear as soon as the graduation cap is thrown into the air. Ma or Sue Ann are no different. She was bullied to the point of being harassed in high school, which becomes a deadly trigger in her adult life. Spencer skillfully navigates the character's emotional turmoil as he deals with past trauma while gleefully enjoying being the main villain.


As soon as Sue Ann meets the children of her former classmates, she begins to take revenge. At first, she seems to genuinely want to be friends with these kids, which fuels Mom's creepiness. She often flirts with, casually touches, or outright insults the teenage teens of the story. Her excuse: Men are dogs, so I can crawl all over these children.


The film makes sweeping overtures to the intersection of bullying, peer pressure and generation gaps. While Gen Z kids clearly experience bullying and peer pressure, you'd be hard-pressed to hear it from Ma. There is occasional pressure to drink and smoke, but not to be a colossal jerk to your peers, because they are different. On the other hand, the teenagers at school welcome a new girl, Maggie (Diana Silvers), on her first day. In turn, Maggie is kind to the wheelchair-bound Genie (Tanyell Waivers). The film could have been a blanket statement about the best tendencies of Gen Z kids while avoiding their worst. Regardless, the message at the end of Ma seems to encourage today's children to break down weak, cyclical and destructive behavior.


Despite the undeniable stalking, violence, torture and murder from the main character, the film is almost certainly funnier than it is outright scary due to its side characters. This is a brilliant move when done right because it breaks the audience build-up. However, most filmmakers don't use supporting characters to their full potential - they're just there to fill out the dialogue and action. But in Ma they are show-shoppers. The old lady in the nail salon only has one scene and she brings the house down. Another example is the pastor's daughter who pretends to be asleep at parties so she doesn't drink. The film often uses her as an incubator for humor in tense or strange situations. All she does is open the eyes, but the masterful construction of her scenes takes into account the comedic benefits.


Ma is stubbornly not afraid of her own shadow. Even in its most egregious moments, the film stares us in the eye with a wink or an angry, cartoonish eyebrow. Either way, it's a particularly entertaining thriller that takes viewers into a fascinating and disturbed underground world.