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Stars: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Diana Silvers, Luke Evans, Corey Fogelmanis, Missi Pyle, Allison Janney

Director: Tate Taylor

Quite what Spencer, or for that matter Lewis and Evans, saw in this hand-me-down horror-cum-suspense film can only be a matter for conjecture. But there's certainly too much build-up and not enough sustained horror here.

And what sort of coincidence is it that five teenagers stop and ask Sue Ann (Spencer) to help them buy alcohol for a night out, when she is harbouring a grudge against all their parents over her humiliation at school when, as a bespectacled misfit, she gave up her virginity, only to find it was a prank played on her by the entire class?

She now keeps the resulting daughter off 'sick' from school to avoid her meeting the same fate.

Spencer's usually seen in more cuddly (if feisty) roles - it comes as a surprise to find that she made her film debut in 1996 - but she can do evil pretty well too, and no doubt saw the role as a challenge, as Ma invites the teens down to her basement, which becomes transformed in no time at all into a sort of in-house disco, as 'Ma' plots her final revenge.

Spencer is pretty much the whole deal here, but there's too little for her to get her teeth into, until her final vengeance cuts loose with some look-away-now moments. All five teens are pretty forgettable.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by efilm.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 29 May 2019