It’s an unspoken rule of entertainment that the horror genre can deliver great roles to actresses in a way traditional dramatic often doesn’t. Consider Toni Collette in Hereditary, or Lupita Nyong’o in Us, or Jamie Lee Curtis’s resurgence thanks to Halloween—horror often comes through when mainstream drama doesn’t. Octavia Spencer is the latest underappreciated actress to get a horror moment, thanks to the movie Ma. She was at CinemaCon to promote it along with director Tate Taylor—reuniting after The Help—and the trailer came out back in February and somehow sailed under the radar. Look at this, it looks totally f-cked up, I am super into it.
Octavia Spencer doesn’t often get to be the star, but Ma puts her front and center. And you can tell, even from just the trailer, that she is having A Time playing that role. It feels like this trailer gives away a lot—it doesn’t even hide Ma’s heel turn—but I also feel like there is going to be a lot more going on with this movie than just the generational revenge story presented here. This trailer reminds me a little of Get Out in the sense that they’re not hiding that there is a catch, but they’re not telling you all the details, either. I can’t wait to see what Ma’s deal is. Is she punishing the children of her former classmates in a “sins of the father” revenge scenario? Is she a serial killer? A witch? Has Ma been dead for forty years? Even if this turns out more camp than high art—a real possibility with a Blumhouse production—I’m cool with it. I am here for Octavia Spencer’s leading lady horror moment.