Just in time for Thanksgiving. Well, the movie's not entirely based on Thanksgiving but you get the gist. Mother's Day, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who's best known for the Saw Sequels and Repo: The Genetic Opera, is a remake of the 1980 cult classic Troma film. There's one thing I would say about the original, is how the tone is all over the place. You don't know whether you're watching a comedy or straight up horror movie. The first half is just some campy, silly road trip farce about three female friends and the second half becomes some rape-revenge thriller with some truly disturbing scenes. It's really jarring. It's a hard film to recommend but I say watch just because of how weird and offbeat it is. It's also hard to say this version is darker and edgier since the original was already in it's darker territories. Unlike most of these reviews, there's not going to be too much comparisons because it's a completely different movie. It's more of a psychological crime thriller than your usual horror film. And most of the "horror" that goes on is basically torture porn which have been fused out ages ago. Enough with the goddamn torture porn! But since the director is know for the Saw sequels, he said "why not?" Besides all that the acting was good, the directing was okay, though however, the weakest point of the movie is the writing. It would've help if the protagonists made more smarter decisions. It's like seven of them and five of the antagonists. But we would've had a much shorter movie. All in all, it's just forgettable. You can see why it had such a hard time getting distributed because the film is just a waste of time, it goes at a very slow place when it shouldn't be. And it's also quite frustrating to watch because of how dumb the characters are. It's not a horrible movie, but it's not great either.
The Story: On the run from the cops, A female fugitive and her criminal son are finding a hideout spot after a bank robbery gone wrong with one son wounded. Once they stop at their former home, they soon find the house owned by a married couple, having a birthday party with their friends. The criminals take this to their advantage and holds the group hostage, driving them deeper and deeper into their web of terror.
The cast was actually good. We have remake regulars like Jamie King from My Bloody Valentine, Briana Evigan and Matt O'Leary from Sorority Row, and Kandyse McClure from the awful remakes of Stephen King's Adaptations of Carrie and Children Of The Corn. Although the actors were great, What really bugged me was how incredibly stupid the characters were. Every little chance they had from escaping the villains and they screw up big time. BIG TIME. I never been so frustrated with a movie, I mean good god! So I'm going to explain this further in the review.
Rebecca De Mornay gives a chilling performance as "Mother." Just imagine her character from The Hands That Rocks The Cradle with three grown psychotic sons. It's pretty much like that.
Every line she delivers is lace with cold calculation. It's sends a chill down your spine and I appreciate that. Mother is rather complex villain is that although she does the most heinous of things, she still deeply cares for her children and is willing to do anything to harbor their needs. Which, yes, makes her really creepy.
Then we have the sons:
Ike is the older brother who takes charge of things. I mostly would say that the main characters are dumb but Ike would be equally dumb.
While forcing one of the hostages, Beth, to get money out of an ATM, they run into these two party girls (A.J. Cook and Alexa Vega in throwaway roles). Then out of nowhere, Ike forces them to play and choose and pick game, which results to them stabbing each other and I'm like what? Isn't he supposed to focus on the plan at hand? Why is he wasting his time with these girls? And I think Beth had the perfect opportunity to escape, but no, she just stands there like an idiot. It's just one of those moments that really frustrates me with this movie. But that's not even the thick of it.
Addley, is the hothead middle brother, who does most of the torture and usually puts his frustrations out on the hostages. He is definitely the most destructive and is considered the muscle of the three men.
Johnny is the youngest of the three brothers, who usually spends the rest of the movie, laying on a couch, screaming in pain. But then there's this one weird scene where Mother forces one of the hostages to deflower him. With a gaping wound, no less. It just comes out of nowhere and is unnecessary.
Deborah Ann Woll, best known from True Blood and the new Netflix series Daredevil, did a good job as the reluctant younger sibling who may or may not have been kidnapped as a infant. Deborah Ann Woll gave a really intense vulnerable performance and is a much better actress than people perceive.
We have Jamie King in another remake again, though I would say this is much better than her last one.
She plays Beth, the jilted wife of the very idiotic Daniel. I'll talk about him later. Overall, Jamie King did a pretty good performance and is equally as strong as Rebecca De Mornany. And when these two go toe to toe, it's awesome.
Now let's get to Beth's husband Daniel, and oh boy, what a jackass! Okay, not only does he cheat on his wife with one of his colleagues but he ruins the chances of his friends escaping. Just as Kandyse McClure's character makes a run for it, he CHASES her down. Just as she's close to getting safety, he grabs her and takes her back, just to save his own ass. It just shows how selfish the character is. I seriously wanted to see guy get the shit beat out of him and thankfully by the middle of the movie he does.
Kandyse McClure's character is probably the only one with any common sense, which ultimately saves her in the end. To be sure, Kandyse McClure is a good actress, it just depends on what material she works with.
Briana Evigan did a good enough job, I guess. There really wasn't much of her to be honest other than playing the sexy bad girl type.
I would say this though, her character puts up one hell of a fight. However, there was something that bother me about the character:
And that's her boyfriend. At first, I thought it was her dad (because he looks old enough to be her dad) but then once I saw her grinding up on him, I realized it was her boyfriend. Eww! Don't get me wrong, I do like older men, But this guy seems like a total sleazeball, it wouldn't hurt to cast a more attractive older guy.
Then lastly, we have Shawn Ashmore, who plays a doctor...That's his character. Besides the fact that his girlfriend gets shot by one of the criminals and is miraculously saved at a hospital, he's mostly there to tend to the wounded Johnny and tries his best to convince Lydia to help the others. I actually do like the scenes between him and Deborah Ann Woll. They have an intense chemistry that pulls through the more quiet scenes of the movie.
The suspense is thoroughly on a high level but only chunk of the scene is gratuitous torture porn, when it really shouldn't be. Sure, maybe some high intense interrogational scenes would work but the tension is lost once it goes into a typical gorefest. Not to mention the fact that the characters can easily fight off these people. Since Darren Lynn Bousman is known for the Saw films, he makes it quite obvious. What makes it even more obvious is that the writer named the family "Koffin." Get it? Ugh. Making more of a crime caper thriller in the vein of movies like Bloody Mama would work. Less of a horror movie with over the top gore and more of a home invasion thriller like, say, Panic Room.
The Verdict? I'm not totally sure if there is a verdict. Although this movie is okay, it's just forgettable. It has some well done scenes but there's too many stupid moments from the characters, it becomes tedious at the end. And I don't know about the Troma film version, it's pretty out there and it's hard for me to recommend.
My Last Word: It's watchable, but not worth your time.