"Veteran Saw franchise helmer (the rubbish ones) Darren Lynn Bousman takes to the director’s chair for this loose remake of the 1980 Troma B-film classic Mother’s Day. Bousman’s latest takes our protagonists out of the woods and into the suburbs, where a demented mother (Rebecca De Mornay) and her ‘children’ terrorise a group of friends having a house party. It’s a familiar set up to say the least (The Strangers meets Funny Games) and the Halloween inspired theme does nothing to spark the flames of freshness, but there’s fun to be had once the gift wrap comes off.
Too many characters have nothing to do and too many themes are left unexplored, but a strong cast is on hand to keep things on track. Patrick Flueger is excellent as conflicted son Ike; Warren Kole hams it up as nut job Addley and Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, Frozen) should’ve been the lead character in the first place. Jaime King and Frank Grillo remain on the sidelines throughout. This should’ve been Rebecca De Mornay’s movie however, and she does rock the cradle with both hands, but Briana Evigan (Sorority Row) burns brightest as Annette Langstone, nailing her role in every sense of the word. True Blood’s Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) has the most intriguing story arc though, bringing her vulnerable firecracker shtick to the table and running away with the movie.
It’s a shame that nothing really happens in the first hour. One character in particular has ‘dispensable’ written all over her nightdress despite a welcome revelation late in the day that never truly resonates. That’s the biggest problem with Mother’s Day - characterisation is slight and you’ll probably find yourself rooting for your favourite characters from other films. Things do improve in the final act. Bousman brings on the much-needed carnage and Mother’s Day ends on a deliriously decadent high note. There are a number of wrong turns taken throughout but Bousman’s macabre tale gets enough right to stop it from straying too far off course. Drawn out though it is, Bousman’s Mother’s Day is definitely worth a look." AW