Mothers Day (2012)

The Darren Lynn Bousman directed pseudo-remake of the early Troma film "Mothers Day" finally hit DVD and Blu-Ray earlier this month. Filmed way back in 2009, it's journey to finally get to this point is almost as frustrating and interesting as the film itself. Shifted from distribution company to distribution company it seemed as though the film might never see the light of day. Its director moved on to other projects (11-11-11, The Devils Carnival) all the while trying to spread the good buzz regarding the film and securing a proper release. Finally being released through Anchor Bay here in the states, 'Mothers Day' is everything it was advertised to be, and then some, and therein is the main problem with the film - the and then some.

A seemingly endless, faceless (except of the wonderful Jaime King) cast of generic twenty somethings are having a bit of a party in the basement of one couples house, when three bank robbers bust in looking for their mother. However, unbeknownst to the robbers Beth (King) and Dan (Frank Grillo) had recently purchased the foreclosed house from the bank. Two of the brothers secure the premises while the third convalesces on the couch with a pretty bad gunshot would to the abdomen. Soon enough they call for mother and Rebecca De Mornay (schwing!) shows up. Shit, as they say, just got real. DeMornay is looking for the cash her good boys have supposedly been sending her since she moved out. Homeowners Beth and Dan deny any knowledge of its existence, prompting Mother to attempt to find its whereabouts - by any means necessary.

The film is pretty brutal, even by todays standards. Poor Lyriq Bent (Saw II, III, and IV), Darren Bousman just loves seeing this guy get beat up apparently. The torture scenes are pretty cool and original, even if they are not to the drawn out painful levels of Bousmans Saw entries.The film certainly has a different type of feel than those Saw films, although most cynical horror fans will still likely classify this film as "torture porn" despite the fact that is something it's definitely not.

On the surface it's looks like a pretty standard home invasion meets torture porn film and given Bousmans past, it's easy to jump to conclusions regarding the end product. In fact, in many ways this film is pretty anti-torture porn. It's very word, very talky, with a ton of subplots revolving around even the most minor of characters, and that is ultimately one of the films biggest flaws. It's yet another film where someone needed to be on set screaming "Keep It Simple Stupid!" Over long and overwrought with character development that exist only to put people in situations where something cool visually could happen, 'Mothers Day would have been a far better film at a 1 hour and 35 minutes rather than its 1 hour 51 minute running time.

The film is buoyed by some great performances. Shawn Ashemore (Frozen) as George, the doctor (everyone of these groups needs a doctor or nurse it seems) elevates the material beyond pedestrian despite the fact that after the first twenty minutes of the film he's given very little important to do. As mentioned earlier, Jaime King is excellent as new homeowner/wounded mother to be Beth. But the real star of the film is Rebecca De Mornay.

From the minute De Mornay steps on the screen (given the classic slow walking, feet only, pan up move to introduce her character) she elevates the gravitas and importance of the film. In a role that many other actresses would have chewed their way through, De Mornay plays Mother as warm and embracing as a cold hearted, cult-like family matriarch can be. She even channels the original wronged mother, Betsy Palmers "Pamela Voorhees," in a couple of scenes, whether intentional or not, it was a nice touch, she almost quotes her word for word at times. De Mornay is also able to do something not many actresses are able to do in genre films. She is so good at becoming the character, it's no longer about who is playing the character, it's about the character. Often times seen as a type of stunt casting, placing an actress well known for other types of films in a small budget genre film can often backfire (see Kelly McGillis in 'The Innkeepers').

"Mothers Day" is a good not a great film, while certainly better than Bousmans "11-11-11" it had potential to be much better. It sees Bousman operating right in the middle of his comfort zone. There are some tremendous visuals. One great performance and a couple other standouts. It's unfortunate that the filmmakers didn't know when to say when, because all the parts of a great film are there, they are just weighed down by extra characters and dialogue that causes the film to drag at certain key moments. Certainly check it out if you are DLB or modern horror fan in general.

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