After a bank robbery gone wrong, three brothers go home to hideout...only to discover that their Mother lost their house in a foreclosure. The new owners and their party guests become the depraved brothers' unwitting hostages. Their sadistic Mother soon arrives and brilliantly takes control of the situation, ratcheting up the terror. As the hostages struggle desperately to survive the harrowing torture, they realize that there is nothing a Mother won't do to protect her children.
After their latest armed robbery attempt is botched, Ike, Addley, and Johny Koffin find themselves in a predicament, as they run from the law. With the youngest, Johnny severely wounded, the 3 siblings hope to find refuge of their mother's house. But when they arrive, they find that their mother is nowhere to be found. She's lost the house by way of foreclosure, and the new owner's Daniel, and Beth Sohapi. are throwing a 2 month house warming party in the cellar bellow, and have invited their friends. But little did the Sohapi's realize, that soon their celebration would turn into a fight for their lives, as an enraged Ike and Addley take charge, and take the house hostage, demanding that one of the friends. who happens to be a doctor, tend to their fallen little brother. If things could not not already get any worse for the captives, the Koffin's loving mother soon arrives and takes control, while simultaneously hoping to teach them what "family values" are all about!
Going into MOTHER'S DAY, what a lot of people won't realize is that, this, the 2010 film, is actually a remake of Director Charles Kaufman's campy classic of the same title from 1980s. The bad thing about all of the recent remakes is that most of the new generation think that since the new updated film has a similar plot, then there is no necessary reason to see the "old original. While this notion may hold true for a small percentage of these remakes, this could not be further from the truth, it the case of MOTHER'S DAY. MOTHER'S DAY(1980, and MOTHER'S DAT(2010), are two very, very different films. While in the 2010 version, some things stay the same, such as character names, and a few dialogue points, it's nature and premise is entirely different. The original film was more of a Horror film, highly saturated withe comedy, one that never took itself seriously and was extremely over-the-top, and because of this end result was lots of silly fun. But for this version, Director Darren Lynn Bousman taps into that same grittiness that he brought to his entries within the SAW series, which gives his version, a far more serious tone. If one needs proof of just how serious this film is, then one can look up on the reported rumors that it was a projected rating that kept this film from going to theaters. Also, the film had been completed and finished for quite sometime now(about 2 years), and has just been given a May 8th, home video release date. A lot of things hold films up, so who knows if it was yet again the film's graphic nature that was the cause? In my opinion, yes the film is visually explicit at times, but it isn't one to trump some of the many other graphic films that I have seen, in fact, in most instances it doesn't even compare. But yes, this film has a sharper violent tone, much different from the off-the-wall. slapstick, black comedy of the original Troma production.
Prior to seeing the film for this review, I had actually already seen the film previously. As a fan of the original, I couldn't wait until it's US release to see it. With this film, I honestly expected to hate it, because lets face it, a good majority of the time, when a remake comes along, and it's based from a film you have memories of and love, odds are, it's going to suck. With Bousman's incarnation of MOTHER'S DAY however, it surprised me - actually, I was quite impressed by what was done with it. Initially, the drastic change from the original, as I mentioned, sort of caught me off guard, but as I got more and more focused on the subject at hand, I was pretty much entertained. First of all, it is clearly obvious that the filmmakers are fans of the original source film, unlike so many other remakes(ahem - NIGHT OF THE DEMONS). While the film's overall structure is pretty original to itself, Scott Milam, the film's writer, pays homage to the original via the dialogue, and other little subtleties - for instance the mentioning of the unseen, "Queenie"(in the film, it was alluded that "Queenie" may be an even more hideous member of the family that Mother forced to live out in the woods that surrounded their home). As I said, the original film is more in the comedy vein, but i'd say that this one lands firmly within the recently popular "home invasion" sub genre. It has a few little hints of comedy that is riddled through out, but for the most part, MOTHER'S DAY(2010) is a full-fledged, vicious thriller. deeply rooted via a sadistic and twisted point of view of motherhood.
As for the acting in the film, there are a few performances that standout among the film's ensemble cast Portraying Mother's three boys are Patrick John Flueger, Warren Kole, and Matt O'Leary. In the original film, Mama's boys were more on the mentally challenged side, but here, the all all cold and menacing, each seeming to have their own strengths and weaknesses. Flueger and Kole, lead the way as the "children", and both do a very convincing job. While the "Johnny" character was an additional male character added to this film, here, there is also an additional female sibling in the "Lydia" character. Deborah Ann Woll, who portrays "Lydia", is great. Lydia isn't greatly focused on, as the male Antagonists are the film's main focus, however, when she is concentrated on, Moll, brings her to life, as a timid, and sheltered girl. As for the victims in the film, there are many, but the top-billed Jamie King truly stands out. King has portrayed the role of victims in films such as the MY BLOOD VALENTINE remake, but honestly in that film, I didn't really feel for her, or better yet, I didn't feel that film in general. But in this film, her character is built up with a nice and heartfelt back-story that makes her character, "Beth" more relatable. So with that, it kind of helps the overall influence of her performance. But, without a doubt, the film truly belongs to Mother, so to speak as Rebecca De Mornay gives a phenomenal performance as Natalie "Mother" Koffin. Previously, the role belonged to Beatrice Pons, who in the film was just scary naturally upon appearance, but here, De Mornay, is frightening via a cold and callus demeanor and sharp delivery. It's just brilliant, and both her evil ways, and witty humor will have you smiling, I would venture to say that the performance that she gives her in MOTHER'S DAY, is one of the best of her career.
Overall, despite having my reservations about it initially, Darren Lynn Bousman's MOTHER'S DAY isn't bad at all, it's actually impressive and well written, The screenwriters did well when making this one their own, while still paying the proper respects due to the original. This is definitely one not to replace the original, as it really can't, because the two are so different. So with this film, the MOTHER'S DAY universe, if you will, now has two versions - one light-hearted and fun, and the other, shocking and rough. But with that said, still see TROMA's original if you haven't!
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
MOTHER'S DAY(2010) simply put, is a good film. No it doesn't have the endearing qualities of the original, but it is a solid entity in its own right, with its own originality(it is nearly a remake in name only). Is it the best "home invasion" film that i've seen? No, but it is a very good one. For me, it's just entertaining, and that's all that I could ask for. Perhaps my only real complaint about the film is, that for a film of it's type, I felt that it might have been a little too long. At 1 hour and 51 minutes, the film does have a few spots which the film drags a little, when the film probably could've worked just as well with some of that excess time trimmed. If you are a fan of the original, but are expecting to dislike this film, still give it a shot, as you might find yourself a little surprised by it. And for fans who have yet to see either film, see them both, because both films offer great things in terms of entertainment.
Special Features include
- Audio commentary with Darren Lynn Bousman and Shawn Ashmore
This film will be released on Blu-Ray/DVD on May 8, 2012