Mothers Day Blu-ray Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Blu-ray released by Studiocanal
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by Scott Milam
2010, Region B (PAL), 108 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 24th October 2011
Rebecca De Mornay as Natalie 'Mother' Koffin
Jaime King as Beth Sohapi
Patrick John Flueger as Izaak 'Ike' Koffin
Warren Kole as Addley Koffin
Deborah Ann Woll as Lydia Koffin
Briana Evigan as Annette Langston
Shawn Ashmore as George Barnum
Frank Grillo as Daniel Sohapi
As the Hollywood remake machine thunders on, Charles Kaufman’s 1980 Troma outing Mother’s Day might not seem a likely candidate for a makeover. Typically tacky and excessive, it’s a film that few – outside of the hardened horror crowd – will be aware of. It was originally shot on a budget of less than $200,000, yet the 2011 re-imagining gets a boost to well over $10 million. Is it money well spent? Certainly Rebecca De Mornay puts in a fantastic performance as the psychopathic mother, but her unwilling victims tend to suffer a dose of movie character stupidity.
On the run from an armed robbery gone wrong, three brothers head for the only place they know as safe; the family home. The problem is, it’s not the family home any more as their mother (De Mornay) lost it to foreclosure a couple of months earlier. Now the brothers, one with a shotgun wound to the gut, have to take control of the new owners and the guests at their housewarming party. Once the group is under control, the boys need to sort out their mess, so they do what any good kids would. They call Mom.
Given that Mother’s Day clocks in at just shy of two hours, it never gets old or dull. That’s no mean feat when you consider that the bulk of the action takes place in a single house with a handful of central characters. Rebecca De Mornay plays an absolute blinder and if you remember her psycho nanny routine from The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, then you’ll know what she was capable of back then. Now she’s crossed into middle-age, her portrayal of an unhinged woman who will do anything to protect her family is superb, always keeping the viewer guessing whether she is being genuinely concerned for her captives or if she will suddenly snap and unleash hell.
Yet despite the tight pacing and strong performances all round, Mother’s Day is infuriating in places as people who are supposedly fighting for their lives take ridiculous actions. Just a hint for you movie people: if you’re ever held captive by a family of psychos and you get your hands on a gun while your captor is distracted, shoot him in the fucking face – don’t ask him for his cellphone.
There’s also a plot thread that starts to get developed, but fizzles out before it comes to fruition. Deborah Anne Woll plays Mother’s eldest daughter Lydia and for a good portion of the film is looking like she is the weak link in the family as George, the party’s handy doctor, works on a psychological advantage over her. It keeps the viewer thinking that Lydia will, at some point, help the captives, but this aspect of the story dies out without a satisfactory conclusion. Woll is better known as trainee vampire Jessica from TV’s True Blood and she channels a similarly shy and awkward character here. The mind games between Lydia and George are an interesting facet to the story, yet ultimately go nowhere.
Another plus for the film is taking the decision not to go a bit rapey, which seems to be a staple of modern cinema when the ‘extreme’ angle is desired. It almost goes there, but had it progressed it would have been another event to add to the list of ‘that simply wouldn’t happen’.
Overall, this is a strong entry into home invasion themed movies, with a stand-out performance by Rebecca De Mornay and a supporting cast backing her up. With just a little more thought to not making the viewer roll his eyes at some ridiculous decisions, it could have been an absolute classic.
Video and Audio:
Mother's Day is presented in a beautifully clear 2.40:1 aspect ratio picture which is rich and natural. Audio is a choice of 2.0 Stereo or 5.1 DTS-HD, and while it's not a film that relies heavily on surround audio, the dialogue has perfect levels of clarity against the rest of the soundtrack. It's everything a good Blu Ray should be.
There are 11 minutes of B-Roll footage and a trailer to open up the extras. Other than that there are a number of interviews with the cast and crew, plus the notable inclusion of Lloyd and Charles Kaufman. Nice to see an acknowledgement of the film's origins and the thoughts of the men behind it.