Mother's Day

Director    Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring    Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Shawn Ashmore, Briana Evigan, Frank Grillo, Deborah Ann Woll
Release    23 SEP (US) 10 JUN (UK)    Certificate 18
1 stars


11th June 2011

The home invasion genre has been pretty vacant since The Strangers moved in a few years ago, but that hasn't stopped men like Darren Lynn Bousman from trying to muscle his way into the neighbourhood. Bousman, who directed Saws II, III and IV – plus the rarely mentioned, Paris Hilton-starring horror musical Repo! The Genetic Opera (exclamation mark the director's own) – has managed to find a horror property from the 80s that no one really gave a shit about to remake. A formula for success!

Or not. The only word I can think to describe Mother's Day is squalid. Or maybe poxy. And possibly grubby. I can't figure out how a movie so relentlessly loud, violent and offensive could be so boring.

Plot attack! There's a tornado incoming (not that it actually matters at all*) but a married couple are nonetheless celebrating moving into their new home with their friends. You know; the slutty one; the sleazy douchebag; the black couple; the disposable one; the one with the obvious secret; Iceman from the X-Men. Those guys. In burst three criminal brothers fresh from a botched bank robbery, one with a critical gunshot blast to the stomach, who then proceed to take the party hostage until 'Mother' arrives, like three little psychopathic Seymour Skinners.

So, the hook here is that Rebecca De Mornay plays the boys' mother, a seemingly calm and collected matriarch who taught her children well in the ways of crime. How delightfully absurd! Except, DeMornay overplays it to such an extent, she comes off like a panto villain. Every time one of her sons splats a hostage, she enters the room, wags her finger, says something motherly like "You boys, always making a mess!" then goes back to baking a cake or something. (This actually happens, by the way).

Needless to say, the whole thing's utterly ludicrous and would be laughable if it wasn't so distressing with its use of violence. Bousman just revels in it, lingering on every scene of torture until you start to worry he's enjoying it a little too much. Some might say it's necessary for violence to be applied for this scenario to be effective, but it's all so needless. Consider the most sensible course of action in the following scene:

If you selected secret answer D) Threaten the women at gunpoint, get them on their knees, give them a knife and force one to kill the other, all in clear view of the entire street, while not actually achieving your goal of getting money out of the ATM, then congratulations, you're officially smart enough to write a Hollywood horror movie.

There are so many moments like this that defy logical explanation. Like the dude who insists on trying to escape from the basement, despite the fact that every time someone tries, their brains get turned into modern art and hung on the wall. And the fact that they have no neighbours that can hear any of their incessant screaming and yelling. And the police officer who, after getting shot, fails to call for back-up and instead peers through a window that practically invites shotgun fire. They're durrbrains to the man.

I think we've all been in this situation before.

What you're left with is a loathsome bunch of dicks – the criminals marginally more offensive than the hostages – lining up for an early grave. Over the course of two hours. That's a long time to be locked in a basement in real-time. Rebecca De Mornay's ham-tastic grandstanding occasionally raises a smile/eyebrow, but otherwise, Mother's Day is just as forgettable as whatever day Mother's Day actually is.

* Although this is the second movie that Briana Evigan has played a character menaced by a tornado, after Burning Bright. No tigers in this one though, for shame.

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