WRETCHED REVIEWS: MOTHER’S DAY

MOTHER’S DAY

Starring Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King and Patrick John Flueger

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Written by Scott Milam

Alliance Home Entertainment

 

It’s hard not to get excited about a movie when the director is excited. When I spoke to director Darren Lynn Bousman back in summer 2009 from the Winnipeg set of Mother’s Day for Rue Morgue Magazine, the Saw II – IV director was ecstatic about the film’s progress and his cast, which included Rebecca De Mornay as the titular psycho mom.

So seeing Mother’s Day released straight to video (sorry, DVD and Blu-ray) nearly three years after completion of filming made me think that a) Bousman was getting screwed or b) the movie must be awful, despite fellow horror journalists reporting how good it was. Fortunately, the latter has turned out to be (mostly) the truth.

Frank Grillo and Jaime King star as Daniel and Beth Sohapi (so happy, get it?), a young couple whose party is interrupted by the arrival of bank-robbing brothers Ike (Flueger), Bobby (Matt O’Leary) and Addley Koffin (Warren Kole). Bobby is wounded, and not knowing what to do, they proceed to their mother’s house. Except Mother (De Mornay) lost the house in foreclosure months earlier, and the Sohapis have moved in. Soon enough, Mother arrives with sister Lydia (True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll being especially fragile), and what could have possibly been a temporary hostage situation escalates into a bloody free-for-all as friendships and family ties are tested, and we see just how deep (and perverse) Mother’s relationship with her children runs.

First of all, kudos to Bousman for making a balls-out crime thriller that isn’t afraid to shed a little blood. Congrats, too, to first-time screenwriter Scott Milam for taking the essence of the original Mother’s Day – itself a rather primitive if entertaining film – and fleshing it out with real characters, drama, and psychological depth.

Secondly, Bousman’s cast deserves recognition, especially De Mornay for being willing to channel the psychotic tendencies she first displayed in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle but also being able to engender empathy for her Mother. This isn’t the “cold, cackling, crazy loony person” (Bousman’s words) of the original – De Mornay’s Natalie Koffin is insane, yes, but deeply and weirdly respectful of family.

While it goes on a bit long, Bousman’s Mother’s Day, which features blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos from the original’s director Charles Kaufman and his brother, Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman, is an edge-of-your-seat thriller which actually got me out of my seat and within a couple feet of my TV screen in order to catch all of the dialogue and action of the film’s thrilling climax.

While we can’t necessarily recommend this as comfortable Mother’s Day viewing tomorrow with your own ma, there’s little doubting that this Mother’s Day is all about the importance of blood – the kind that’s thicker than water and the kind that is spilt.

Rating: 3.5/5

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