“Ma” (Universal)

Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers and McKaley Miller star in a scene from the movie "Ma." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Universal)

By Catholic News Service

There are more laughs than chills to be garnered from this horror tale in which the new girl in a small Ohio town (Diana Silvers) is befriended by a group of her fellow high school students (most prominently McKaley Miller and Corey Fogelmanis) and together they begin partying at the home of an adult veterinary assistant (Octavia Spencer) who turns out to be a whack job.

The campy fun of watching Spencer’s character come unhinged might compensate for the wild improbabilities by which director Tate Taylor’s overheated film, penned by Scotty Landes, is beset. But enjoyment is undercut by exploitative bloodletting and other problematic elements.

Much gory violence, multiple gruesome images, strong sexual content, including aberrant behavior, full nudity and teen sensuality, benignly viewed drug use and underage drinking, about a half-dozen profanities, several milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language, an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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