The latest project to be released from the director of Saw II – IV and Repo! The Genetic Opera, Darren Lynn Bousman, is a remake of the 1980s rape/ revenge thriller Mother’s Day. The original, written and directed by Charles Kaufman, is a classic piece of bloody nonsense following a group of campers who fall foul of the local backwater brood who live their lives solely to please their demented mother.
The remake contains only a passing resemblance to the original; if we’re being specific, all they’ve got in common is a title. It starts by quickly introducing us to a party of adults (adults?! Excellent, no longer will we be subjected to brain dead teenagers in horror flicks!) in a basement playing pool and generally enjoying themselves. The protagonists of the story, Daniel and Beth Sohapi (Frank Grillo and Jamie King), have just moved into the house two months previous and are about to meet the previous owners.
After a robbery goes wrong – one of them is sporting a particularly nasty looking gunshot wound – the three Koffin brothers (very apt name) are trying finding a safe haven. Thinking they will be safe in their mother’s house they burst through the front door only to realise their mother doesn’t live there anymore (even the most twisted of evil is not safe from the recession). Lo and behold, it seems that the protagonists have moved into the villain’s house! There is no way the Koffins are able to leave now, everybody has seen them waving guns around and their brother’s blood is all over the sofa. So they keep the party hostage in the basement and call mammy dearest (Rebecca De Mornay) to the rescue. Once she arrives the torture really begins.
Despite the fact that the writers have gone with adults as opposed to the default silly teenagers, these people are not the sharpest knives in the drawer and make some woefully silly decisions – attempting to run away while mother is looking right at them, not telling the police there is somebody in your house when he has given you a code to do so, &c. It’s difficult to care about the characters because an extravagant number of primary cast members means thrown-together back stories are inevitable.
There is absolutely no attempt at explaining why this family of psychopaths are like this. Yes they were schooled at home and are weirdly close to their mother but what’s with the violence and criminal tendencies? Did something happen? It just doesn’t make sense. Mother’s Day does, however, provide an interesting moral take on the villains, who are shown proselytising and defending the sanctity of marriage to their victims – totally unaware of the hypocrisy of their position.
Mother’s Day features an impressive cast (especially for a thriller flick) including Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Jamie King (Sin City) and Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business). It’s a toss-up between Jamie King and Rebecca De Mornay for the best performance; both do an outstanding job. Rebecca De Mornay as the psychotic mother manages to capture her nurturing side and mix it up seamlessly with her mentally ill persona whilst Jamie King invokes the desperation of somebody trapped in that situation without making stupid decisions like all of her friends in the basement seem to have done.
Not the most memorable film I’ve seen, but not one to throw away either. I envision this being the perfect movie to watch on one of those nights where you just want to relax in front of something that is enjoyable but not in the least bit challenging.