Cover Your Holes
Aaah, the horror genre, my beloved genre of choice. When making a horror movie, you have to tread carefully to avoid supposed scares being funny or flat, and when not dealing with some supernatural force and aiming for realism, you had better cover up as many holes, questions, and implausibilities as you can, otherwise the tension and scares will come to naught. Mother’s Day is the another in a long line of remakes, this time around though it’s a remake of a film I haven’t yet seen. With Darren Lynn Bousman of Saw fame at the helm we have someone who knows how to make a decent horror flick, and with Rebecca De Mornay we have at least some acting pedigree to make proceedings watchable. As mentioned, I haven’t seen the original, so I’ll review this purely as a standalone.
The film opens with an effective enough cloaked scene of baby-snatching, setting the tone as fairly dark from the outset. We shift then to a house party where a group of friends are celebrating a birthday. In a pleasing turn, the group all appear to be late 20s – late 30s rather than the typical teenaged crowd. We briefly meet each character and learn a little about them – they are an average bunch, a mixture of married couples and flirty singles, and we learn that an approaching hurricane/tornado will mean they may not be able to leave their house. After this brief introduction, we meet the bad guys – a trio of brothers fleeing from a botched bank robbery. In our first twist, they land at the house of the goodies – it turns out that this was their house, but they were unaware that their mother had lost it a few months previously and the good guys have since moved in. Before long, the goodies are holed up in the basement, and Rebecca De Mornay’s Mother is on her way home to help her boys.
Rebecca De Scary
As alluded to in my poor introduction, if you’re going for realism, you have to be careful to avoid any lapses in that realism. There are certain lapses and questionable decision making throughout the movie on behalf of the good guys, but possibly to its credit, the film does make tongue in cheek nods to these, such as having the characters argue over whether or not they should rise up and fight back, or simply play along. Nevertheless, it’s always going to be one of those films where you wonder how you would react in the same situation, and will be screaming at the TV as the characters do silly things. On a better note though, the performances are mostly very good, with De Mornay being at once chilling, motherly, psychotic, loving, calming and violent. Shawn Ashmore stands out too as the sympathetic doctor, and the only character who seems to repeatedly make the correct decisions, while the assorted guests and children of Mother are each performed admirably – King and Evigan in particular.
A Cheap Catch
I’d class this more as a gore-filled thriller rather than an all-out horror film. There is a fair amount of tension throughout, and the scenes of violence are shocking for the uninitiated, and realistically bloody. There is nothing outlandish, but then again there are not too many genuine scares taking it away from the horror genre. The setting doesn’t fully use the idea of claustrophobia to its advantage, and really the whole tornado business could have been taken out completely. There is a decent atmosphere at times, and there are some moments where our protagonists fail to trust each other, and indeed a few twists are thrown in for good measure, none of which are particularly striking but are nevertheless welcome. A few of the revelations cross the line between whether we can truly root for or dislike a certain character , while some viewers may feel they are merely by-the-numbers plot-twist fodder. On the whole, this is a decent enough film to try if you can catch it on the cheap – there isn’t anything startling or original, but thanks to strong casting and good pacing, it’s a harmless, entertaining watch.
Have your seen either version of Mother’s Day? Which version is the best, and what do you think of horror remakes in general? Let us know in the comments!