It was a cold drizzly evening and any other time I would want to be home in bed, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to attend a house party in a sprawling mansion in Los Angeles for the upcoming MA movie. I had heard whispers here and there that a woman named Ma put on the best house parties imaginable, where those who came could party safely and the alcohol flowed non-stop. Though I’m not a drinker, I thought what the hell? What could possibly go wrong – clearly there was an older adult in charge in case people started getting rowdy and there was always the options of leaving. So I grabbed my boyfriend with the promise of free drinks and food and we headed out to meet Ma.
After parking the car, we headed up a set of narrow stairs leading to the backyard of the house where the party was already in full swing. The beer was flowing and groups of people were taking shot after shot as the music was pumping loudly from inside the house. It was then that I realized that this immersive experience had begun the moment we arrived and for the next hour or so, we interacted with some of the “high-school” kids (aka actors) ranging from jocks to nerds to the popular kids. Sure, it was weird that a much older woman was putting on a party for high-schoolers, but what did I know? Times had changed and who was I to question the motives? Everyone seemed to be having fun and I was enjoying chatting with the teenagers as they filled me in on the drama and teen angst that they were experiencing. However, one thing seemed to be missing from the party and that was the host with the most, Ma…
It was at this point that I decided to do some digging. I met up with one of the high schoolers who I felt had the most knowledge, a young woman who was attempting to be drunk so that she didn’t have to drink (I felt that in my soul by the way). I inquired about the location of Ma and where groups of party-goers kept disappearing too, to which she responded that I should look for the girls in the plaid skirts. Taking that at face value, I did exactly as I was told and bid farewell and found one of the plaid skirt wearing girls inside the mansion by a large staircase. I asked her if she could give us a tour of the house and she gladly said yes and informed us that we would be looking for Ma’s secret stash of alcohol. She led us outside and down a path that brought us to the basement which was designed to look exactly like the perfect secret hangout. However, this is where things began to go wrong as we quickly learned that her friend Rachel was missing from the party.
Sadly, we ended up finding Rachel shackled to a rusty door where we learned that Ma had been at the party the whole time; however, Ma had a dirty little secret she was hiding from everyone. Ma had been keeping teens as prisoners in her home where we found some locked up in the basement and others with horrific injuries in the upper floors of the house. It was clear that these teenagers had been through some horrific shit; I mean one dude had his junk cut off so god only knows what he did to deserve that. As we desperately tried to escape, we were met with one terrifying ordeal after another but hope was just in front of us. As we found the exit we quickly made our way over to the staircase, only to be cut off by Ma in all her glory, screaming like the hellion, hell-bent on making us her prisoners as well. However, it all happened so fast that if you didn’t catch a glimpse of her just at the right moment you would have missed her. Luckily we were able to escape and were quickly led back down the main stairs where we first started and back into the throng of party-goers.
Overall, the Ma Experience was an enjoyable way to spend a Thursday evening. Put on by our friends at JFI Productions, I was stoked to see them venturing into more film focused experiences. The location of the mansion, which I had visited before when I did Delusion’s His Crimson Queen, was absolutely perfect and set the tone brilliantly for an over-the-top house party while also being able to utilize more of the forgotten, quieter spaces for the creepier elements. My only real critique was the format in which everything unfolded. It was difficult to find out what exactly was going on and who to talk to at first, considering the massive amount of people (many of which were influencers and celebrities from the film) in attendance; however, once we were able to get a grip on what we were supposed to do, the experience became much more streamlined. I absolutely love these types of pop-up events that are tied in with upcoming films, so I applaud both JFI Productions and Universal Pictures for bringing a large-scale house party to life ahead of the film’s release and for giving us a taste of what we can expect from the film. I can only hope to see more of these types of events from both companies in the near future. MA arrives in theaters March 31 from Universal Pictures.