Monstrous Horror Marathon: Darren Bousman's 'Mother's Day'
by Alex Billington
October 11, 2010
I had the opportunity to catch Darren Bousman's remake of Mother's Day after it premiered at Fantastic Fest, where Jeremy saw it and panned it, but I have a different opinion than him. Let me preface by saying that I'm a big fan of Bousman's directing. I've admittedly enjoyed almost all of his movies, despite the hate most of them get. I would say out of the entire Saw franchise, I think Saw II and III, which he directed (in addition to Saw IV), are the best films in the series. I don't care if anyone thinks that discredits my opinion, but there's just something about his style, his pacing, the way he directs, that I almost always enjoy seeing.
I've never seen the 1980 Charles Kaufman directed Mother's Day Troma film which this is a remake of, so I had no expectations for story or anything, but I knew it was a home invasion thriller. That said, I really liked Bousman's version of Mother's Day quite a bit, and that's my completely objective opinion. I watched it with Jeremy's review in mind and I kept thinking, "what the hell did he hate about this so much?" I couldn't find much to dislike. It's a solid thriller, not perfect, but damn good. I was actually considerably impressed with all of the performances, especially Jaime King, who did an incredible job in her role as one of the victims.
The thing I enjoyed the most about this Mother's Day was the pacing. Again, it's just Bousman's directing, the way he tackles the storytelling. It moved very, very quickly, without a single dull moment, but not too fast where anyone would lose track of the story. Essentially, a group of vicious bank robbers, one seriously injured, return to a home that used to be their own. But we soon find out that this family that used to live their had been kicked out thanks to foreclosure and they were just returning home. They call their mother, played by Rebecca De Mornay, who comes in to take control of the situation, and boy is she controlling.
I had also seen another home invasion film at Fantastic Fest called Kidnapped, which was about a family of three (mother, father, daughter) whose home was taken over by a group of three invaders. In Mother's Day, though, Bousman ups the ante by putting a partying group of about seven people in the basement when the malicious family comes to take over. That's partially to up the body count and allow for more violence, but I also appreciated that increase in numbers because it meant there would be more to the plot than just a few people trying to survive/escape. I won't get into spoilers, but it definitely goes to some interesting places.
Anyway, I just wanted to take just a moment to talk about Bousman's Mother's Day and counter Jeremy's opinion of the film because I felt almost the complete opposite of him. And as I originally mentioned in the kick off article for my Monstrous Horror Movie Marathon, this was the first horror/thriller film I saw on October 1st, so I wanted to include it in my series. Bousman's Mother's Day isn't very gory or extremely violent, but rather incredibly brutal. The character dynamic between the group of partiers/home owners and even the dynamic between the mother and her sons and everyone else is what really made the movie for me.
If you're also a fan of Darren Bousman or just want to see a modern, solid home invasion thriller, be sure to check out Mother's Day when it's released. It doesn't have a US distributor yet, but we'll keep you updated.