13 June 2011


That bloke in the background will get off pretty lightly. Women suffering though? Phwoaaar.
People like Repo! The Genetic Opera, right? As I've said before, I found it to be a pretty transparent stab at making the torture porn generation's Rocky Horror, even though Anthony Head is all kinds of badass- never quite got why people like it that much. Anyway, Repo! is probably director Darren Lynn Bousman's most appreciated work, with its cult classic status and all. But this is a film "from the director of Saw II, III and IV." Oh dear.

Mother's Day is a remake of a 1989 film made by Troma, now with added delusions of dramatic heft. Three brothers return to their family home after a bank heist goes badly wrong, with possibly fatal consequences for the youngest. As he lies dying on the sofa, the other two brothers realise that their mother and sister have long since lost the house, and violently capture the new residents during their housewarming party. And matters only get worse once Mother herself arrives.

Bousman shepherded the Saw series through its lowest point, the execrable Saw IV, but it’s Mother’s Day that really proves to be a world-beating piece of shit. Simply, it’s not scary. It’s disgusting, sure, but we’re never scared by someone having their entrails or head exploded with a big shotgun, because the stock characters are pretty much on loan from a Saw sequel. He wastes no time making us care, and the action seems entirely predicated on how cool the gore is going to look.

Naturally, the film has an 18 certificate, and as usual, Bousman treats that as a licence to bring as many of the characters’ insides out as the budget will allow. Some of the characters are pretty much on loan from the Saw films, which means they're flawed personalities who have at some point done something nasty or wrong, for which comeuppance must be delivered by some fucknut or other. We're not concerned for their survival, but neither is there any particular desire to see their misdeeds go unpunished.

But the really ugly thing about the film is its deep and nasty misogynistic streak. There’s a young mother in this film, and she’s one of the first to fall victim to the three Brothers Dim. That’s not played for emotional impact or even a jump scare, but how suddenly she gets a face full of lead. IN YOUR FACE, MUM! The absolute worst thing is how we see the women die in the most graphic detail while the lens is comparatively squeamish about the male characters’ deaths. Most of the male deaths happen off screen or out of focus, which says all kinds of things Bousman’s attitudes to women, and that turned my stomach.

The tiniest of things I can say in the film's favour is that the cast isn't all bad. Briana Evigan once again plays a young woman stuck in a house with a tornado outside, and she's as game for the action stuff as she was in Burning Bright. It's to her credit that she has some standout moments towards the end, in a film that is as deeply nasty and misogynistic as this one. Shawn Ashmore plays a young doctor present at the party when the brothers break in, and he does a decent job as the guy tasked with keeping the shrieking and moaning younger brother alive. He has some decent scenes with Rebecca de Mornay, who is, by contrast, way overrated.

Those of the horror fandom contingent who are praising this remake to the high heavens often seem to single out her performance as creepy, dramatic and compelling. Me, I didn't feel that it was enough for her to deliver most of her lines in patronising tones only to sporadically explode with righteous and yet wrongful rage. She's only about as well characterised as Mama Fratelli from The Goonies or Mom from Futurama, with three idiot sons to contrast with her relative calm. I do concede that Rebecca de Mornay is a lot better than the material, but it doesn't mean she elevates it in any way.

Do you know what the worst thing I've read about this film is? The original cut was apparently five hours long. God only knows how Bousman got five hours after this brainless, heartless and soulless guff that he’s calling a motion picture, but goodness knows he didn’t trim it down enough. When horror is repulsive, it should, on some level or another, be either scary or enjoyable. The cast alternate between shrieking histrionics and cod-philosophising, and from start to ugly finish, Mother’s Day is protracted and disgusting.

Mother's Day is now showing in cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen Mother's Day, why not share your comments below?

 I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.

1 comment:

spookym said...

The inclusion of the dumb-ass, done-to-death lullaby "hush little baby don't you cry..." ruined the whole movie for me.