Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Shawn Ashmore, Warren Kole, Patrick Flueger, Lyriq Bent, Deborah Ann Woll, Frank Grillo, Matt O’Leary
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Being a huge fan of Charles Kaufman’s classic film Mother’s Day, the prospect of a remake had me a little on the worried side. Simply put, the flick is so lovably “out there” that trying to duplicate its special brand of insanity could just never work. Director Darren Lynn Bousman realized this as well, and as a result his re-imagining of the 1980 shocker is an altogether different beast, but rest assured its fangs are still razor sharp!
Daniel and Beth (Grillo and King) are a bit of a struggling Kansas couple in the midst of hanging with their friends in the basement of their new home, celebrating Daniel’s birthday and biding their time as a strong tornado heads dangerously their way. The house came into their lives thanks to Beth, a real estate agent, who landed her family the new digs via foreclosure. Little does our group know a different kind of violent storm is about to reach them first.
The home’s original owners, the Koffin family, comprised of Ike (Flueger), Addley (Kole), Johnny (O’Leary), their sister Lydia (Woll), and of course their mother (De Mornay), are a brood on the run who, through a series of unforeseen circumstances, end up at their old homestead where they now are set to face off against the new owners and their buddies.
That’s the set-up in a nutshell, but there are plenty more intricacies to the film’s plot. In the interest of not spoiling the ride, we’ll stay on the quiet side pertaining to them.
That being said … this is in no way the Mother’s Day we’ve come to know and love. Bousman has carefully crafted this new telling in a way that is completely different than its source material, but he still does more than enough to satisfy its fans as he obviously is one himself. Throughout the movie you’ll notice quite a few moments and even dozens of lines that both pay homage to and revere the original film. All these subtly placed nods in this new contemporary setting are never distracting and really reward eagle-eyed (and eared) fans of Kaufman’s version in a very similar manner as Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead did for Romero’s masterpiece.
Fans looking for the wonderfully sick things that filled out the runtime of the original Mother’s Day will be pleased to hear that Bousman’s version takes all of the madness, chaos, and violence of the first film and sets it loose here in a more realistic manner that’s bound to create quite a few wince-inducing moments for the audience. It’s also reminiscent of films from the Seventies like Roger Corman’s Bloody Mama that pulled no punches and were actually geared toward adults. A refreshing change of pace from the watered-down fare that passes for psychological horror nowadays.
While the high level of violence and the respect paid to the source material serve to sell the movie, this version also brings a lot more to the table. The beauty of the film is that through various character arcs and plot points things aren’t as black and white as you’d expect. By the time the film reaches its conclusion, Bousman and writer Scott Milam manage to intelligently create quite a few shades of grey that will garner some true sympathy for their devils while leaving it up to viewers to ultimately decide who exactly said devils are.
Flueger, Kole, and Woll are on top of their game as the Koffin family, exhibiting as much depth as they do depravity, and our victims also turn in rock solid performances, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special nod to both Rebecca De Mornay and Jaime King. Throughout the movie these two develop their relationship to the point where they become your quintessential adversaries. De Mornay is white hot while onscreen and owns every second she gets in the spotlight, and as the film goes along, King brings some serious heat of her own. Best of all, nobody does anything stupid, and that goes a long way toward keeping you invested in the movie’s proceedings.
Mother’s Day easily takes its place amongst the few successful remakes out there that manage to entertain while treating the audience with respect. Intense and at times shockingly violent, Mama’s boys have once again made their mother very proud.
4 out of 5
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