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Mother's Day (Frank's take)

1/06/2012. Contributed by Frank Ochieng

Buy Mother's Day in the USA - or Buy Mother's Day in the UK

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It is safe to say that the coat hanger-wielding Joan Crawford from Mommy Dearest has nothing on the menacing mama in the horror sideshow Motherís Day. Veteran vixen Rebecca DeMornay sinks her teeth into another inspired twisted role as a warped woman with an unstable agenda.

Sadly, DeMornayís demented diva routine as ďMother MadnessĒ is the only wildly imaginative chilling element about this flimsy frightfest that overloads on its empty-minded grisly gumption.

Filmmaker Darren Lynn Bousman, the mastermind behind three Saw-directed gross-out instalments, applies his brand of horrific hedonism in the name of motherly mayhem. Motherís Day boasts the sensationalistic rhythms of graphic violence complete with torturous sequences, senseless squirming and over-exaggerated grim excursions. However, Bousmanís hostile home invasion tale is a pointless potboiler drenched in tension-minded tediousness.

DeMornay, whose psychopathic nanny in 1992ís The Hand That Rocks the Cradle was eerily a devilish delight, rolls with perverse pleasure as a demonic Donna Reed prototype who is the maddening matriarch of riff raffish robbers. It is too bad that screenwriter Scott Milamís spotty slash-and-dash script does not give much reinforcement to DeMornayís delicious ďmother-from-hellĒ mantra. Instead, the movieís crutch is its gimmicky gore that it unwisely overdoses on much like supplying a hyperactive child with gallons of a sugary soft drink.

Motherís Day is a remake of the 1980 Troma slasher flick. The premise involves a suburbanite couple Daniel and Beth Sohapi (Frank Grillo and Jaime King) celebrating their new ownership of a cozy homestead. The Sohapis are hosting a party with seven of their closest friends until tragedy strikes in the form of the creepy Koffin brothers. Ike (Patrick Flueger), Johnny (Matt OíLeary) and Addley (Warren Kole) barge into the house after a botched bank robbery seeking an immediate hideout. The house was once their property and they did not realize that Daniel and Beth are now the new occupants that call their old stomping grounds home.

Desperate and delusional, the Koffin siblings hold the partygoers hostage until the arrival of their controlling and calculating Mother (DeMornay) and sister Lydia (Deborah Ann Woll). Mother is not too pleased with the incompetence of her bank robbing boys. She is miffed at eldest son Ike for not taking charge in his sloppy effort to carry out the crime accordingly. Addley is admonished by Mother for his sick-minded mistreatment of the houseguests under siege. As for Johnny, Mother ensures that her baby boy is comforted as she nurses his injuries. Despite the loose ends in a sticky situation, Mother assumes the reigns and tries to manage the pending predicament.

The backstory of Mother and her boys is a sordid one to say the least. The filmís beginning hints at Motherís unhinged tendencies as a nurse kidnapping babies. Of course it was under Motherís watch that the Koffin home undergone foreclosure. The pressure is on Mother to protect her dysfunctional brood. Specifically, she needs cash to make sure that her chaotic offspring are shipped south of the border to avoid capture. It certainly does not help the cause of the hostages to become fidgety. This results in dire consequences with the sadistic Motherís back against the wall. The colorful carnage increases as the stakes are raised.

Motherís Day potentially had the makings of a nifty caustic caper armed by the mouth-watering wicked performance by DeMornay. Bousman took the inexplicable liberties to up the ante in the filmís grotesque overtones as if he was on the set filming another kinetic Saw edition. The built-in psychological playfulness of the criminally unbalanced Koffin clan would have sufficed but Bousman drowns out this opportunity with over-indulgent debauchery that feels woefully misplaced and overwrought. Whatever mind-numbing trip that Motherís Day could have conveyed with level-headed naughtiness is wasted in an illogical story that insists on awkwardly stretching out its wayward strokes of splatter-induced cinema.

As a ferocious fable, Motherís Day would have been best served as a sinister thriller soaked in subtle intensity. An overdone crass creeper at heart, this particular Mother does not always know best.

Mother's Day (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
1 hr. 51 mins.
Starring: Rebecca DeMornay, Jaime King, Patrick Flueger, Warren Kole, Deborah Ann Woll, Frank Grillo, Shawn Ashmore
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
MPAA Rating: R
Genre: Horror

Criticís Rating: ** stars (out of 4 stars)

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