/ Blu-ray. Studio Canal.
have to admit, I haven’t seen the original Mother’s
Day since around 1983, when I found it frankly disappointing
– having read great things in Fangoria
and the like, I really expected something more from the film.
So for me, this new movie doesn’t really come weighed down
with the need for it to live up to very much.
In fact, this is more ‘inspired by’ than ‘based
on’ – a few character names and visual nods to the
original aside, it has little in common with the original film,
which was a movie that seemed to set the scene for later Troma
bad taste, crass comedies – albeit with a bit more intelligence.
This new version also has humour and social commentary, but in
both cases it’s a lot more subtle and considerably darker.
Following a bank robbery gone bad, brothers Ike (Patrick Flueger)
and Addley (Warren Kole) haul their critically injured brother
Johnny (Matt O’Leary) back to what they think is
the family home. Unfortunately, the home was lost a couple of
months earlier in a foreclosure, and is now occupied by troubled
couple Beth (Jaime King) and Daniel (Frank Grillo, who are hosting
a party in the basement. Taking the partiers hostage, the brothers
call their sister Lydia (Deborah Ann Woll), who arrives with Mother
(Rebecca De Mornay) to sort out the situation. Foremost on their
minds in what has happened to the money they have been regularly
send to the house – money they now need to skip to Canada.
Their efforts to find out, and to secure more cash to help their
escape, inevitably lead to a situation that rapidly spirals out
is one of the more interesting home invasion movies to come along
in quite some time – smart, intense and, once the action
starts, pretty relentless. The victims here are far from an innocent
bunch, and their self-centered nature, cowardice and greed are
brought to the fore in a sharp, cynical story that suggests we’re
all just a few steps away from savagery, and that selfishness
inevitably leads to bad things happening. The contempt for human
nature is perhaps best shown up by the fate of two incidental
characters, thrown a knife and told that whoever kills the other
will be allowed to live – viewers are bound to wonder what
they would actually do in that situation…
Director Darren Lynn Bouseman shows his Saw roots
with some brutal and genuinely horrifying moments of physical
and psychological torture, and keeps the film moving at full throttle,
layering on scenes that are remarkable in their savagery and cruelty.
The film perfectly shows a situation that – as Mother herself
points out – could have ended quickly and without much pain
spiraling out of control, and when she tells one character that
all this has been their fault for lying about the cash, you can’t
help but agree.
De Mornay is on stunning form as Mother – for the most part
calm, even soothing, yet clearly in control and very dangerous.
She dominates each scene as easily as Mother dominates her family,
and while the rest of the cast do perfectly solid jobs in their
roles, this is, without question, her film.
As ‘remakes’ go, this is a decidedly superior effort.
One of the most ferociously relentless thrillers I’ve seen
in quite some time, and laced with a very twisted streak of black
humour, it’s well worth seeing.
IT NOW (UK) BLU-RAY