Review: Mother's Day (18) / Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman / Written by: Scott Milam, / Starring: Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Patrick John Flueger, Warren Kole, Deborah Ann Woll / Release Date: Out Now
A remake of the 1980 B movie Troma classic, Mother’s Day proves to be an effective horror shocker with enough twists and brutal death scenes to keep even this jaded reviewer glued to the screen.
Considering the source material, Mother’s Day should have been destined for the bargain basement bin, yet its combination of horror and humour mashed together with great acting, lashings of gore and a tense - if completely ridiculous script - make it an excellent addition to the genre.
Rebecca de Mornay plays Natalie Koffin, the deranged mother of an unhinged family eager to please their matriarch in any way possible. This 51 year old actress scared audiences back in ‘92 with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, then sank without trace. Despite her absence from any film of notable worth, she is back on top form for Mother’s Day. Mornay’s chilling performance carries the film for its 118 minutes running time. Her highlights include mildly scolding her boys for a number of truly violent murders, and the cold, calculating reasoning of why a woman should be raped.
Taking the essence of the original Troma exploitation film, yet understanding the need for a fresh perspective, Director Darren Lynn Bousman – whose notable work includes the likes of Saw 2 and Saw 3 - shifts the action to quiet suburbia where a couple are entertaining friends in a ‘hide from the tornado’ party in their basement. Here we’re introduced to a number of 30-something party goers which includes George, played by actor Shawn Ashmore – he of Iceman fame. The house, it would seem, they bought cheap from auction, not guessing at the former occupations and general unsavoury nature of its previous inhabitants.
It’s not long before a gang of bank-robbing brothers burst into the house thinking it still belongs to them. The three brothers, Ike, Addley, and a badly injured Jonny soon find the friends downstairs. George is quickly identified as a doctor, and while he is given the unenviable task of tending to Jonny’s wounds, Ick, played by Patrick Flueger, phones his mother for help.
A natural reaction considering the circumstances.
Ma turns up, and if the friends thought the brothers were bad then she raises the bar to a whole new level of weird. And so begins the need for violence, gore, and a strange, twisted style of humour. In short: my type of movie.
Each actor brings a great sense of depth to their respective roles, whether playing psychotic brother, coldly insane Mum or soon-to-be-dead partygoer. This is Mother’s Day’s strength, and without it the film would have floundered. Shawn Ashmore’s portrayal of doctor George is spot on perfect. Ashmore, in fact, has a sense of believability about him with subtle nuances in his performance to lift him head and shoulders above the rest of the assembled cast.
Mother’s Day doesn’t shy away from its subject material, but it knows where to draw the line, depending of course where you’re used to the line being drawn. It touches upon what we all could be capable of doing if given the right motivation. The horror is a palpable thing, and in this way should be regarded as a complete success.