Review by Brad McHargue: I am not fond of Darren Lynn Bousman. His claim to fame is three of the seven Saw movies, with Repo! The Genetic Opera making him a sort of household name among fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Since then the movie gods haven’t as kind, with his most recent film 11/11/11 being a critical and commercial failure. Tucked in between there, however, is Mother’s Day, a remake of the 1980 thriller of the same name. It premiered at Fantastic Fest in 2010, and since then, has been seeking distribution to no avail. The film has finally landed on Blu-ray and DVD, and while it’s certainly not a great film, or even a consistently good one, it manages to be Bousman’s best effort, due in part to stellar performances by Rebecca de Mornay and Jaime King.
Mother’s Day follows a group of friends whose evening birthday party is interrupted by a trio of robbers, one of which is seriously injured. They barge into the house thinking it to be their mother’s, but quickly learn that the film was sold two months prior on foreclosure. After some confusion and unnecessary violence, Mother returns, along with their sister, and quickly takes control to ensure their safety and escape.
As a whole, Mother’s Day really isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. It’s often violent for the sake of being violent – not really a shock considering Bousman’s oeuvre, but it often comes at the expense of story. Such is the folly of these types of horror films. In one scene, Ike, the eldest son of Mother and one in control, forces two women to kill each other after his hostage Beth reveals he has a gun. While it’s appropriate within the context of the sadistic nature of the character, it tends to take away from the overall impact of the film. It becomes just another violent thriller, albeit one punctuated by brief moments of solid acting.
Once Mother arrives, she tempers the situation, giving a false sense of security to the friends. This quickly changes as she reveals herself to be just as sadistic as her kids, albeit with a softer, more gentler approach. The partygoers are more or less interchangeable, though Jaime King’s performance stands out among the pack as decidedly emotional and heartfelt. Through it all, however, Mother’s Day is a run-of-the-mill thriller that manages to avoid mediocrity with a few powerful performances and some skillful directing on the part of Bousman.
For a film that underwent such a great struggle to make it to DVD, you would think that it would contain something resembling special features, but you’d be wrong. The Mother’s Day Blu-ray has a nice, crisp transfer, but sadly that’s about all it has going for it. A commentary with Bousman and actor Shawn Ashmore is included, but that’s about it. It also comes with a DVD version of the film, so there’s that. All in all it’s a pretty weak disc, and only worth a purchase if you truly love the film. -Brad McHargue
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