I have been lucky enough to avoid the whole “torture porn” movement in horror cinema, only being exposed to Saw III and Hostel and not liking them for the most part (though am interested in seeing the first Saw as I rather enjoyed Insidious). The idea of continuous gore for the sake of disgust holds no interest for me; I’d prefer much more to be grossed out in a comedy than a horror. Mother’s Day comes from director Darren Lynn Bousman, the man responsible for Saw II, III and IV but he was also responsible for Repo! The Genetic Opera, a film that I dug quite a bit. It is a loose remake of the 1980 Troma horror film (which I have not seen). The film is based around what happens when a homes former owner, a psychopathic mother (De Mornay) with her 3 deranged sons (Patrick Flueger, Matt O’Leary and Warren Kole) crash a house party filled with 20-30 something yuppies.
This film is bad, what is wonderful about the horror of the late 70s through to the 80s (with a brief stint in the 90s) is that they had something to offer the audience more than just a few deaths and jumps, some had deep subtext about the fears that the world faced at the time, whilst others were revolutionary in their style and filmmaking, it seems like all these ideas have fallen by the wayside, offering nothing new. This of course can be over looked if the film is at least entertaining (Scream 4 and Insidious jump to mind as recent examples of this) but Mother’s Day is just dull, long and preachy. It feels at times that the filmmakers had something to say about the violence in the movie almost in a Funny Games style, but the point seems to get lost along the way as the film goes on and the violence on screen seems to become glorified.
A big selling point for this movie is the fact that it has Rebecca De Mornay in the lead role as the villain, a comeback role for the actress I know best as starring opposite Clive Warren in the fictional film by Karl Pilkington. De Mornay hams it up nicely in the film, clearly enjoying the villainous role (though at times it feels like she’s trying to imitate Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker) and puts forward a fine performance in the film but her talent might just stand out as all the other actors in the film are terrible. Especially awful are Alexa Vega and Warren Kole, two performers who couldn’t be believable in any situation they were thrown in (make sure to look out for the scene where Vega’s character, suffering from a brutal head injury starts casually walking around and looking bored with what is going on in the film, maybe this was just a meta way of showing us the audiences reaction).
Horror movies need to give their audiences a little more substance if they want to keep the genre alive. Mother’s Day is an unmotivated piece of nonsense, none of the characters actions make sense, the plot tries to surround itself with mystery but just comes off as tired and if you don’t see the end twist coming a mile off you clearly aren’t paying attention and really I don’t blame you. Too much gore, no actual movie. I have no idea why I expected more from a movie produced by Brett Ratner, I guess Catfish made me think too highly of him.