“I guess you just moved into the wrong house.” Often, in horror movies, the victims are presented with options that determine the outcome of their future. They fail to heed the warning of the locals, insult someone with a niche for karma, dabble in dark arts, or check out a haunted house. However, in Mother’s Day, a group of friends are held hostage simply because the previous owners decided to come back home.
Beth (Jaime King) and Daniel Sohapi (Frank Grillo) host a gathering for Daniel’s birthday at their new house, and all of their best friends arrive ready to party. Little do they know, Addley (Warren Kole) and Ike Koffin (Patrick John Flueger) are on their way, along with their little brother Johnny (Matt O’Leary), who’s writhing in pain due to a rather large bullet wound. A once festive evening turns sour as the boys take over the party through trauma and terror, threatening everyone’s lives if the doctor from the group, George (Shawn Ashmore), fails to save Johnny’s life. And just when the party-goers think the night can’t get any worse, Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) arrives.
At the beginning of the film, the audience is sure of who the bad guys are. Three brothers, their aloof sister, and sadistic mother that invade the home are obviously the ones to be feared. However, as friends within the group turn on one another, the once clearly assigned assailant becomes murky. As the night dwindles on, and the situation becomes more desperate, each hostage makes the tough decision between themselves and their loved ones. This movie plays on the idea of human nature, and shows how people will react when placed in a life-or-death situation. Mother’s Day illustrates that the will to survive is locked deep within every individual, and when triggered, can have surprisingly catastrophic results.
Rebecca De Mornay is without a doubt, the best part of this movie. She might even be considered one of the best villains in years. Understanding, compassionate, yet brutal with her punishments, Mornay makes you respect Mother, or she makes you sorry for choosing not to. I just can’t say enough good things about her performance. She nailed every scene she was in, delivered every line with a cool air of cruelty, and brought a spark to the film that might not have existed without her presence. Her confident nature works to give Mother a silent strength, which she holds firmly, even while torturing her victims. Addley provides the chaos, but Mother maintains a calm composure that reeks of power.
With so many remakes deficient of flare, it’s nice to watch a film like Mother’s Day. Granted, this remake is very different from the original, but what it lacks in mimicry, it makes up for in terror. There are a few plot points that could’ve been expanded upon, like the idea of “Queenie”, a woman who lives to punish misbehaving children, but overall, Mother’s Day is one of the most frightening home invasion movies I’ve seen in years. So if you’re disappointed with the newer horror flicks that you’ve seen lately, this is a film I’d recommend to restore your faith in the genre.