Darren Lynn Bousman’s Mother’s Day is out today from Anchor Bay Films on Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack and on DVD. It’s an intense little film with an enesemble cast that includes Rebecca DeMornay (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Wedding Crashers), Jamie King (Red Tails, My Bloody Valentine, Sin City), Brianna Evigan (S. Darko, Step Up 2: The Streets), Patrick John Flueger (Footloose, Brothers), Deborah Ann Woll (HBO’s “True Blood”), Lyriq Bent (Saw II-IV, Skinwalkers), Frank Grillo (The Grey, Minority Report) and Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men films, Frozen).
This movie is actually pretty damn intense. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be quite as visceral as it is, and it adds a few new scenarios to the home invasion genre that I hadn’t seen yet. I recently hopped on the phone with Bousman to discuss the film, its long road to release and the impact of the film’s violence (along with an alternate 4 hour cut that will probably never see the light of day). We also discussed Cinco De Mayo, the upcoming film that took us all by surprise last Saturday. Finally we touch upon The Devil’s Carnival tour and his plans for that film’s sequel.
In the film, “After a bank robbery gone wrong, three brothers go home to hideout…only to discover that their Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) lost their house in a foreclosure. The new owners and their party guests become the depraved brothers’ unwitting hostages. Their sadistic Mother soon arrives and brilliantly takes control of the situation, ratcheting up the terror. As the hostages struggle desperately to survive the harrowing torture, they realize that there is nothing a Mother won’t do to protect her children.”
Head inside for the interview.
Mother’s Day is a surprisingly brutal film. Much more so than 11-11-11 or Devil’s Carnival. What was it like returning to that?
Each movie is kind of it’s own thing. It’s not what I wanted to do for 11-11-11, but I wanted to do it for this. But I made Mother’s Day so long ago it’s a blur. I made it coming off of Repo, which was panned my mainstream critics. I needed another hit at that point. It put me in a panic position and I didn’t know what I needed to do. You want to continue to make movies and you want to make movies that people see. I know Saw [2-4] was important to a lot of people so I subconsciously used what I knew worked on those films. But even Saw was a lot of gore for gore’s sake, lingering on guts and entrails. And I tried not to do that on Mother’s Day. In a lot of respects it’s my most graphic film, but it’s not the most gory. It’s just so vicious that you don’t realize that you’re not seeing that much stuff. So many people are getting killed, and it’s so f*cking vicious that you don’t realize you’re not seeing everything.
But you don’t shy away from the effects of a gun wound or something like that.
I shot the gore, There’s a 4 hour version of this movie, and I still think that’s a pretty cool director’s cut. I know what it can never be released, it’s four f*cking hours. It’s the Dances Of Wolves of horror films. It dealt with the more humanistic side of things but it also showed you the more vicious and violent side of things as well. That being said, looking back at my career right now, it’s probably my favorite film. As a director, it’s my vision. You can’t say that on every film, but this is the most me out of the ones that I’ve done.
Brett Ratner is a producer on the film. How was he involved?
Brett was actually the first person on the film. He came to me actually. And at the time, I was only like a year and a half off the Saw films. I think he was like, “let’s bring the ‘Saw’ director in. He’s got fans, he’s profitable.” Brett’s a cool guy. I went to his house a few times and we hung out and I realized that he was going to be supportive and not try to screw with me a lot. He himself is a director and he gets the whole process.
Was Rebecca DeMornay the fist person who popped into your head for the role?
No, she wasn’t. She wasn’t even the second or third choice, but she was the best person. And it’s one of those things where after she came up you kind of hit yourself in the head, “of course!” I went back and watched all of her films again and I immediately fell back in love with her. I grew up watching her stuff. Imagining her as “Mother”, I don’t know how we ever thought of anyone else. She’s perfect and the movie is perfect for her.
A lot of directors would have cast teens in the victim roles. I thought it was refreshing that they were adults.
I’m a masochist, I read every single review and every single talkback. And one of the things that pisses me off is that the majority of complaints are that there’s nothing original. And then an original film comes out and it’s “too out there”. And if people want to see something that’s not cookie-cutter – that’s me. I always want to do something unique and different. I approach every movie like that. And I approached this movie like that. Let’s get a cast that’s not just hot teenagers running around the woods.
The first thing I do with any movie I get put on is I make a list of the top 5 things people expect from the genre. And then I don’t do any of them. In this case, it was the rape and the redneck kids. I wanted the people to be smart.
I wanted to talk about Cinco De Mayo a little bit. This just sort of popped up the other day.
I guess in today’s day and age you can never keep things quiet for that long. I can’t say a lot about it, I’ve been working on it for a while with a producer friend of mine. But when I got the script, it was so great. I have a hard time reading scripts, I get bored. I read this twice back to back. That’s all I can say about it. It wasn’t supposed to leak, I found out about it first on my Facebook wall. But so be it.
And you plan on shooting it this year?
Yes. We shoot that very, very soon. We shot that [promo] very quickly. I wanted to go off and do something that excited me. And I did that in a day with basically my friends. And you know what? That’s my newfound philosophy. I just want to work with people that I like. People that I’m friends with and respond to. It’s just friends that I’m working with. It’s one of those things that I’m working on because I love the people.
And you’re just a few days away from wrapping up The Devil’s Carnival tour. At this point, what’s your take on a second installment?
Part of me wants to start tomorrow. Literally. The tour has been an overwhelming success and it’s very easy for people to turn their head and not realize what’s actually happening with it. But, seven people driving in a car across the country – we were able to incite an audience. We were able to mobilize the audience not only into coming to the theater, but talking about it, writing about it, blogging about it. This is stage 1, the very beginning.
And now I think it’s time to bring more fans into Part 2. This has been the most liberating experience of my life. So much of filmmaking is heartache and drama and stress. I mean Mother’s Day was shot three years ago. I was waiting for that movie to come out and every morning I would wake up and wonder, “is today the day a release will be announced and people will finally talk about it?” 11-11-11, same thing. I was powerless. I was powerless the minute I turned in my director’s cut. To me, the biggest thing is taking back the power and controlling your own fate. That’s why I’m so excited about Devil’s Carnival and Cinco De Mayo.