A few weeks ago I selected ‘Mother’s Day’ as my PICK OF THE WEEK for the Weekly DVD Column here at The Awards Circuit (the link to that column is here). I had meant to publish this review beforehand, but here’s the thing…this movie is so mediocre it’s hard to come up with anything to write about it. Director Darren Lynn Bousman (he who directed 3 installments of the ‘SAW’ franchise and the rock opera ‘Repo: The Genetic Opera’) is a filmmaker well suited for this sort of grimy B movie, but his actual direction leaves something to be desired here. The film has been on the shelf for over 2 years, and it’s not hard to see why. Bousman tries a lot of things, but rarely is successful, partially due to a lazy script by Scott Milam and the mostly indifferent acting of the cast (though his pacing is terrible here). Everyone is over the top without really putting the effort in, except that is for Rebecca De Mornay. She gives an effectively chilling performance that’s deserving of a better movie than this one. We have a mostly boring slasher flick with one really good performance in it. That’s not nearly enough to lead to a recommendation, but it does save the film from falling into the crevice of being one of the worst films of the year. It’s just one of the most forgettable.
A remake of the Troma film of the same name from 1980, the flick centers around a home invasion and the brutality and betrayal that comes from it. Beth (Jaime King) and Daniel (Frank Grillo) are having a housewarming party with a few of their close friends (played by Shawn Ashmore, Lisa Marcos, Briana Evigan, and Lyriq Bent, among others) when a trio of armed bandits breaks into their home. They are Ike (Patrick John Flueger, Addley (Warren Kole), and Johnny (Matt O’Leary). One of them is injured, and the other two seem to think this is their childhood home and still belongs to their mom. Quickly, they take everyone hostage, while having one of the guests (who’s conveniently a doctor and played by Ashmore) tend to their dying brother. Soon enough, Mother (De Mornay) arrives with her other child Lydia (Deborah Ann Woll), and while she’s the picture of calm, she’s just as deranged as her sons. She claims that Beth and Daniel stole a sum of money that’s been hidden in the house, and she wants it back. They deny any knowledge of this cash, which leads to the beginnings of torture and murder. The guests try to escape, but a tornado is coming and the outside world is becoming just as dangerous as the basement they’re locked in. Can anyone get out alive or will Mother be the last one standing? As is the case with the slasher genre, expect lots of carnage and almost no soul.
The cast of this flick is actually a bit better than you’d expect, but aside from Rebecca De Mornay no one really seems to be making a real effort. The likes of Jamie King, Shawn Ashmore, and Deborah Ann Woll do forgettable work that’s below what they’re capable of, but Frank Grillo has been doing some very nice acting of late, so his phoned in performance here is especially disappointing. De Mornay is the only one who does more than the bare minimum, and it’s a small delight to watch her rule the screen like this. It’s not her career best or anything, but she’s having a good time and easily is the best part of the movie. As for the rest of the supporting cast, they’re mediocre at best and include the aforementioned Lyriq Bent (a ‘SAW 2′ alum), Briana Evigan, Patrick John Flueger, Warren Kole, Lisa Marcos, and Matt O’Leary, as well as the likes of Kandyse McClure, Tony Nappo, and Jessie Rusu, among others. The acting overall is about what you’d expect from a slasher flick, Rebecca De Mornay notwithstanding.
Darren Lynn Bousman is not an untalented director, but he certainly has a style that you either love or hate. That style fit his 3 ‘SAW’ films, even if his outings ran the gamut from being one of the better films in the franchise (‘SAW 3′ is ironically the third best outing), to decidedly average. Even more love it or hate it is ‘Repo: The Genetic Opera’, while his somewhat quieter thriller ’11-11-11′ left a lot to be desired. ‘Mother’s Day’ is more of the same too, and his style kind of distracts at times. Also, he just drags things out. There’s no reason that this flick should almost be 2 hours long. It’d be a stretch at 90 minutes, so it’s a real slog here. It doesn’t help that Scott Milam’s script doesn’t give you anyone to care about and is content to traffic in stereotypes, both of the character and genre variety. The work behind the camera is mostly as mediocre as that in front of it, so it’s no surprise how average this film is.
‘Mother’s Day’ is very forgettable, but those who live and die with the slasher genre or have a real affinity for the original flick won’t hate what’s on display here. That’s really all that there is to say. It took this long to come up with a review of the work because there’s just so little going on to talk about. How I even came up with this much is surprising to me, as I spent more time on this movie than one ones I’ve liked twice as much. In any event, the movie is out on DVD at this point, so if you’re curious, it’s there for you to check out. You decide, but I don’t especially recommend it…
-Thoughts? Discuss on the Forum!