Throwing you right in at the deep end the film gets off to a quick start and you have to find your feet fast. The action starts with three brothers returning to their mother’s home following a bodged bank job. One of them is seriously wounded, the police are on their trail, and to further compound matters, a tornado is closing in. But what’s this!? Is mum having a ‘off the hook’ party downstairs!? What’s all this kerfuffle? The brothers soon find out that the house is no longer occupied by their matriarch, but a bunch of well to do 30-somethings celebrating the birthday of one of the new owners!
All hell breaks loose. The brothers panic. What do you do when you’re in a tight spot? Like all good boys they call their mummy.
Cue the arrival of cruel disciplinarian and outrageously foxy Rebecca De Mornay to tidy up her family’s mess and get them all out of dodge. The plan is simple, recover the money that it is revealed the brothers have been sending to the house not realising their mother no longer lives there and to make for the border. Only problem is the new owners of the house have no recollection of seeing any money! What to do! And so in the brother’s desperate struggle to keep their brother alive, recover the missing money and escape before the police or an impending tornado catches up with them, we are treated to a tense standoff between the dangerous family and the increasingly determined captives.
Mother’s Day is a pretty intense film. All of the characters are under pressure and we skip from one pressurised situation to another. We have one of the hostages, George charged with keeping the wounded brother alive with the threat of death should he fail. We have the out of control brother Addley goading the hostages. We have the older, slightly wiser, but no less sadistic brother, Ike, out and about with lead hostage Beth trying to track down some cash in order to escape. And lording over all the chaos we have De Mornay’s mother Natalie and bullied daughter Lydia.
The film maintains a good aura of believability. This is set up as a realistic scenario, although obviously an uncommon one, but the actors involved all deliver measured performances and their actions throughout the film never encourage scoffs of disbelief. The opposing ‘leaders’ Rebecca De Mornay for the captors and Jaime King as Beth for the captives both deliver the stand out performances, but I would have liked to see them on screen together a little more and for Beth’s
character to be a little more calculating. De Mornay in particular skits from controlled pleasantries to cold, hard cruelty in the blink of an eye and really takes the film, like the scenario she finds herself in, by the scruff of the neck.
Mother’s Day does have one over-riding theme, which on occasion feels a little forced. The theme of ‘what would you do to survive’ is fine when it comes to main plot, but when it looks at it a little too often especially accompanied by one of the characters explicitly asking the question at the same time it starts to feel a little overdone. One seen in particular following a hurried cash machine withdrawal seems a little pointless and only serves to really make sure you aren’t missing this key message.
The film has it’s nasty violent moments, but it’s more effective for it’s atmosphere as the situation in the house get more strained and the captives become more bold in their plans to escape. The tail end of the film left me a little confused. On the one hand I did expect the whole thing to breakdown into a bit of a bun fight, but when it did I felt slightly disappointed that it resorted to whacking people rather than a more calculating scheme with a more psychological edge that we know some of the characters are capable of by this point.
Nevertheless a bit of a kitchen rumble between De Mornay and King is probably what you’ve been waiting for, and although it’s a messily shot scene, delivers some good kitchen utensil carnage. It does also deliver some unintentional laughs though – cracking someone over the bonce with a breadboard anyone?
Overall Mother’s Day is an effective entry in the genre of house invasion films (it ere even a genre of house invasion films?). It bears little resemblance to the original film so you should expect to go into this with a clean slate.
It has good performances throughout, a believable scenario and a good measure of sadism. One or two areas o the film grate a bit, but nothing that’s going to really ruin your viewing experience.
Mother’s Day is released in cinema’s accross the UK on Friday (10th June)