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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD / Blu-ray. Studio Canal.

Mother's DayI 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 of control.

Mother's DayThis 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.





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