Despite the somewhat stereotypical story, Mother’s Day is one hell of a movie following one hell of a dysfunctional family and the chaos they leave in its wake. It works on several levels so you can look at it as a classic home invasion movie or a psychological horror. Just two years earlier we had the pleasure, I guess, to watch The Strangers, but that’s more of straight-up horror. Here we can look at this family of criminals, murders, and sadists and examine how they became what they are.
It’s funny to think that the original Mother’s Day is actually a Troma movie! If you’re not familiar with their repertoire, they make mostly low-budget insane horror comedies. I guess Toxic Avenger is their most popular movie to date. You should know that this is a very loose remake as the original was a much nastier movie that was banned in the UK because of its graphic content. Now, this one is also quite disturbing, just in a different way.
This is a single-location movie unfolding in real-time. This makes it very suspenseful and at times claustrophobic. All of this is elevated by excellent performances of the entire fucking cast. However, there’s one person who stole the show here and that’s the eponymous mother played by Rebecca De Mornay. She was creepy, frightening, and nasty as fuck, a woman you do not want to cross. I also want to mention Frank Grillo and Jaime King, as two of the more familiar faces.
Beth and Daniel are having a party in their basement along with a couple of their friends, celebrating Daniel’s birthday. Everybody’s having a great time, drinking and waiting for the other guests to arrive. At the same time, three bank robbers are on the run from the police. With one of them bleeding, they decide to head for their mother’s house. They’re about to find out that their house is actually not their house.
As you can notice things pop off pretty soon in this one. And once they start popping they don’t fucking stop for nothing! The pacing is relentless and the violence graphic and unnerving. You can’t help but feel the pain of those poor hostages. Luckily, after about twenty minutes, Mother arrives to the scene of the crime giving something else to think about. However, I do think that they could’ve cut out at least 15-20 minutes to make this a much more streamlined experience.
I’m still not sure if Mother’s Day belongs to the so-called torture porn subgenre of horror movies. There are far too many psychological elements for that. Apart from the dysfunctional family we also have a group of relatively normal friends in an abnormal situation. To see how they will react and what will they do is thought-provoking enough even without putting yourself in their shoes. All I can say is lock your fucking doors people.
I remember the time when I made fun of people who immediately after I went into their house locked the doors. Well, not anymore, now I say good job buddy, I do that too. And now comes the hard part. Please do not read anything about the Wichita Massacre before you’ve seen the movie. I think that the Massacre in the name tells you a lot about what happens. Mother’s Day borrows a couple of elements from this horrific crime spree and the name Wichita Bank is visible in one of the scenes.
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Scott Milam, Charles Kaufman, Warren Leight
Cast: Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Shawn Ashmore, Briana Evigan, Frank Grillo
Fun Facts: Jaime King fractured her tail bone on her third day on set.