• Mother’s Day (2010)



    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: May 8, 2012.
    Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
    Cast: Rebecca De Mornay, Shawn Ashmore, Jaime King
    Year: 2010
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    The Movie:

    Remakes get shit on almost instantly by cult and horror movie fans, and generally for good reason. It seems to take a lot less creativity and skill to repackage a story that’s been done before and more often than not the studios behind these ideas only want to update things for a modern (read: teenage) audience, something that rarely sits well with fans of the originals. There are exceptions, however, and Darren Lynn Bousman’s remake of Charles Kaufman’s 1980 film Mother’s Day is one of them.

    When the movie begins, Daniel Sohapi (Jaime King) and his pretty wife Beth (Frank Grillo) are having a party in the basement of the house they got as a foreclosure deal a couple of months ago. It’s just been fixed up and they’ve now got it just the way they like it and are celebrating Daniel’s birthday with a few friends – married couple Treshawn (Lyriq Bent) and Gina Jackson (Kandyse McClure), a doctor named George Barnum (Shawn Ashmore) and his single mother girlfriend Melissa (Jessie Rusu), Dave Lowe (Tony Nappo) and his flirtatious fiance Annette Langston (Briana Evigan), and mutual friend Julie Ross (Lisa Marcos). Everything is going fine until Daniel hears a noise upstairs. When he goes to check it out, he finds three men in his house: Ike Koffin (Patrick Flueger), his brother Johnny (Matt O’Leary) and his other brother Addley (Warren Kole). They’ve just committed a robbery and are hiding out in the house that used to belong to their mother, having no idea that the bank foreclosed on her and that there would be new owners.

    Given that Johnny is suffering from a nasty gunshot wound, Beth – hoping to get them up and out of the house as soon as possible, brings George up to help the injured man while the other two gunmen head downstairs to wreak havoc for the guests until their mother, Natalie (Rebecca De Mornay), shows up with sister Lydia (Deborah Ann Woll) in tow. It turns out the boys had been sending mom some money these last few months and they figure it’s got to be in the house somewhere. While mom and Addley look around and hold the group hostage, Ike takes Beth out with him at gunpoint to empty some ATMs after stealing the bank cards of her party guests. As the cops are closing in on the Koffin family, the guests try to figure out how to make it out alive.

    More of a home invasion film in the vein of Last House On The Left or The Strangers than a standard horror movie, this new take on Mother’s Day replaces the hillbilly aspect of the original with some poignant social commentary and some slick but appropriate modern style. Character development is handled well here, and without wanting to go too far into spoiler territory we can at least note appreciation for Jaime King’s take on her character, the one who goes through the most significant change as the picture plays out. The rest of the cast are solid here too, however, with De Mornay doing a fine job as the de facto ringleader and delivering a remarkably stoic performance. She’s creepy, matronly, caring and psychotic all at the same time and she does a great job with the material.

    Those worried that the film, like so many remakes, would cater to the PG-13 crowd can rest safely assured that this film is a hard R through and through. It’s violent, sick, twisted and even legitimately shocking in a couple of spots. Most of the gore effects look like practical effects work and not low budget CGI, meaning the film manages to deliver some quality splatter effects. The film isn’t a masterpiece and it’s really a remake of the 1980 picture in name only, but it’s quite well done and certainly one worth seeing.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Mother’s Day looks good in 2.40.1 widescreen by way of Anchor Bay’s AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. Detail is decent throughout and black levels are pretty good, if not reference quality. This isn’t the brightest of films, the colors used tend to be heavy on browns and grays, but when the splatter hits the screen the reds look quite realistic without feeling artificially boosted. Contrast looks good and detail is definitely better than what standard definition could provide, especially in facial close ups. There’s a little bit of shimmer here and there but other than that, this is a nice looking disc to be sure despite the fact that it’s a bit on the soft side.

    Audio chores are handled well by an English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless track, with optional subtitles provided in English and Spanish. Dialogue is strong here, easy to follow and understand without any issues, while the sound effects pack a pretty hefty punch, particularly the gun shots. Levels are balanced well throughout the film and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. Good use is made of the rear channels throughout the film and while certain scenes are more front heavy and therefore less immersive than others, overall this is an effective and problem free mix that suits the movie well.

    Aside from a few trailers that play before the main menu screen loads for other unrelated Anchor Bay properties, the only supplement on the disc is a commentary track with director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor Shawn Ashmore. Bousman talks about how the film sat and then sat some more before finally getting released and discusses the influence of the original and what he tried to do with his take. He also talks about a lot of what wound up being cut out of the movie (none of which has been included here, sadly) while Ashmore more or less discusses his role as an actor in the film and his thoughts on his co-stars and certain key scenes. As this is a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release, a standard definition DVD version of the movie is included with the Blu-ray disc in the keepcase containing identical extra features.

    The Final Word:

    Mother’s Day isn’t a film that will change your life and it’s not a film you’ll be screaming about from the rooftops for days to come but it is well made and quite tense. Some solid effects work and a few legitimately great performances make this one work really well and if Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray isn’t jam packed with extras, the commentary is decent, as are the video transfer and the lossless audio mix.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!