May 1, 2012

Filthy Review - Mother's Day

Mother’s Day (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

The world, it would appear, it awash with the movies of Darren Lynn Bousman right now. At the time of writing this we have just seen the release to DVD of his 2011 movie 11-11-11, his latest horror/musical The Devil’s Carnival is currently on tour at theaters around the States, and now, somewhat belatedly, sees the release to DVD/Blu-ray combo pack of his 2010 movie Mother’s Day. Quite why it took so long to get a Stateside release is beyond me, as it is already available in the UK, and first and foremost it is rather good.

Based on the Charles Kaufman directed movie of the same name from 1980, Bousman’s Mother’s Day is a growling, snarling beast of a movie whose bite is every bit as nasty as its bark. The film follows three brothers who head for their old house after a bank robbery. It’s their old house as they have been evicted, but they can’t get their heads around this fact, and they don’t take too kindly to finding out that a young couple now lives there. The couple is having a party in their basement and it’s not too long before things take a mean streak, a streak that takes an even more sadistic turn once their mother, played by Rebecca DeMornay, arrives at the house.

Put quite simplistically, Mother’s Day is a home invasion movie, and a very nasty one at that. But, taking a look beneath the surface and clearing the blood from your eyes, there is more going on. Foreclosures on house are becoming all too common in this day and age, and Mother’s Day is quite aware of this, so it does ring painfully true in that respect. First and foremost though it is a brutal and unrelenting journey in violence and suffering though, I really can’t emphasize the downbeat brutal nature of this movie.

Bousman’s earlier movies, such as Saw 2-4 and Repo: The Genetic Opera were violent; the movies were awash with blood and there was some serious suffering involved. Mother’s Day, however, is a much darker and bleaker movie. There is no real respite from the on screen carnage, and there is more than a few occasions where the violence is almost unbearable in its cruelty. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are far gorier and more violent movies out there, by far, but it is the general tone and atmosphere of Mother’s Day that make it such a grueling film. 

There aren’t really any likeable characters, although there are some excellent performances, and truthfully it is tough to know where to place your allegiances. Bousman manipulates your viewing experience constantly, lifting this above simplistic violence for violence’s sake.
The real star of the show though is Rebecca DeMornay, I really cannot stress how wonderful she is as the titular matriarch. Cold, calm and ruthless, yet with an unwavering love for her children, she has really nailed this role. She may have been a nasty piece of work in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, but this is something else.

If I was to say anything negative about the film, which is hard because I really did enjoy it far more than I thought I would, it would be to say that it is almost too downbeat. I say almost because the tone fits the film perfectly for me, although some may find it too dark.

After the relative disappointment of 11-11-11, this movie has gone a long way to show what Bousman is capable of once again. He is not afraid to get down and dirty, and neither it would appear were the cast, and has delivered a violent gem of a movie. Now, there are always haters of remakes, sometimes for no other reason than the movie being a remake, but you know me and I couldn’t care less; a good film is a good film and this is a very good one.

If you like oppressive and violent movies with strong performances I recommend you give this a spin. I will definitely be watching it again, and no doubt several times.

Mother's Day is release on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and DVD on May 8th from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

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