In Mother’s Day (2010), three brothers on the run from the law seek refuge in their childhood home. Unbeknownst to the boys, their mother has lost the house to foreclosure. When the brothers arrive, they discover that a new family has moved into their former dwelling. In light of their situation, the guys and their psychotic matriarch take the new owners of their old home hostage. They take back their home and lay down the law.
Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera) directed this 2010 reimagining of the Troma classic Mother’s Day. I expected for this reboot to be in the style of ‘torture porn’ as Bousman’s previous films have. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a great deal of restraint employed here. There isn’t the intestinal ripping kind of violence that is typical to a Darren Lynn Bousman film. He has seemingly matured as a filmmaker from previous projects. And that maturation is of great benefit to the outcome of this film. There’s still a hefty helping of gore on display but not to the level that I was expecting. I was surprised to see that the camera pans away from the most violent and reprehensible acts that occur in this film. In the director’s previous work, the camera would have been zooming in and hanging on every gory detail.
In addition to showing growth as a filmmaker, Bousman also coaxes great performances out of his leading actors. Both Jaime King and Rebecca DeMornay turn in superb performances. Pressley plays completely against type but she is great. Her character is vulnerable but tough. DeMornay’s portrayal of Mother is pure evil in physical form. She nails the performance.
Mother’s Day effectively melds together several different film genres. It is part retribution thriller and part home invasion film. Dabbling in several sub-genres can be a recipe for disaster if the film doesn’t excel in any of them. But Mother’s Day actually succeeds in its various endeavors.
This reimagining is a great example of how a remake should work. It pays tribute to the original but it tells its own story. It is only loosely related to the 1980 original. It packs plenty of unexpected twists and turns into its running time. This reboot is entirely free of the campy aesthetic that Troma is known for. But Lloyd Kaufman does have a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ cameo.
Mother’s Day is impressively paced. The tension begins to build right away. It becomes more and more heated as the home invasion begins.
The characters in this film are well developed. What makes the hostages interesting is that the more we learn about them, the more we discover they are not that innocent. Their shortcomings make the viewer slightly more sympathetic to the plight of the invaders.
My chief complaint with this reboot is that the retribution sequence is not nearly as epic as that of its predecessor. The original Mother’s Day has a very memorable retribution sequence. But this film focused more on the events leading up to the revenge spree, rather than the episode itself. That left me feeling a little let down at the end but not so much as to ruin the film. On the plus side, Bousman did maintain some of the creativity with which the original retribution segment was executed.
I was disappointed with the way that the distribution of Mother’s Day was handled. The film was shelved for several years and then received an almost nonexistent theatrical run. After a one or two night exhibition, it essentially went straight to DVD. So, a lot of horror fans missed this film’s release. If you missed Mother’s Day upon its theatrical/DVD release, it is well worth looking in to.
Director(s): Darren Lynn Bousman
Writer(s): Scott Milam
Stars: Jaime King, Rebecca De Mornay
Studio/ Production Co: Twisted Pictures
Budget: $11 Million
Length: 112 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Home Invasion/Revenge Horror