Mother's Day (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/06/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

Despite the obvious pleasures of seeing Rebecca De Mornay back on the big screen, Mother's Day is ultimately disappointing, thanks to largely unlikeable characters and an unwillingness to commit to the full-on nastiness required by the plot.

What's it all about?
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, Mother's Day is a loose remake of a relatively obscure 1980 horror movie. Jaime King and Frank Grillo star as Beth and Daniel Sohapi (geddit?), who are having a house-warming party with their friends (including Briana Evigan, Lisa Marcos and Shawn Ashmore) when their house is invaded and they're all taken hostage by the three Koffin brothers (Warren Kole, Patrick Flueger, Matt O'Leary), their jittery sister (Deborah Ann Woll) and their psychotic, controlling Mama (Rebecca De Mornay).

It turns out that the brothers are fleeing a failed bank robbery and had taken refuge in their old family home, only to discover that Mama had had to sell it because she wasn't receiving the money they were sending her. Convinced that Beth and Daniel are hiding the money, Mama goads her boys into violently torturing the house guests while the Sohapis' doctor friend (Ashmore) tries to help her youngest son (O'Leary), who was shot during the robbery.

The Good
Film-goers of a certain age will get an undeniable thrill from seeing De Mornay on the big screen again and she duly delivers a deliciously evil performance, cold and calculating to the last. Ashmore is equally good as the film's most likeable character and Briana Evigan gamely strips down to her underwear again, if you like that sort of thing.

The Bad
One problem is that, Ashmore's doctor aside, none of the characters are all that likeable, so it's hard to care too much when they start dying, which robs the film of any sense of tension it might otherwise have had. It's also hampered by some dodgy dialogue and extremely poor editing decisions, most notably during an escape attempt that goes wrong.

However, the film's main problem is that it can't quite commit to the full-on nastiness required by its premise and continually pulls away, whether by having gory deaths happen just offscreen or by copping out at the crucial moment. That's not to say there aren't a couple of effectively nasty moments (e.g. someone's head getting set on fire), but the film feels oddly neutered by refusing to embrace the torture porn extremes demanded by the script.

Worth seeing?
Despite strong performances from De Mornay and Ashmore, Mother's Day is ultimately disappointing thanks to unlikeable characters and a refusal to follow through on the excesses inherent in the script.

Film Trailer

Mother's Day (18)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 10:43

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