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Motherís Day (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2010)


Darren Lynn Bousman, director of Saw II through IV, makes a change in his chosen genre if not exactly a change in tone, with his new thriller Motherís Day, a remake of the 1980 Troma cult classic. Both preposterously plotted and, given its crude nature, preposterously entertaining, the film begins on site at a young coupleís homecoming party. Having moved into a foreclosed house, this duo and a collection of their friends soon finds themselves with some unwelcome visitors. It turns out that this new home once belonged to the aptly named Koffin family, a motley group of bank robbers, led by a cruel but businesslike matriarch (Rebecca De Mornay). After a botched heist, the Koffins scamper back to their nest, holding the party guests hostage in an extended, sadistic home invasion. The directorís experience in the torture porn genre comes in handy here, as the criminals inflict a series of perverse punishments upon their captives, which inevitably are repaid back in double on the oppressors. As plausibility goes straight out the window, mining tension out of the increasingly ridiculous scenario becomes Bousmanís goal. Motherís Day succeeds admirably on that level, delaying any inevitable moral reckoning in the name of further exploitation.


Without a doubt, Rebecca De Mornayís performance is Motherís Dayís greatest asset. Channeling a demented caricature of Hillary Clinton, she uses cruel logic to entrap characters in their own tricks and turn the supposedly civilized suburb dwellers against one another. She commands the screen whenever sheís on it, leveraging her twisted family values into an outright reign of terror. The slightly campy pitch of her outsized performance keeps the rest of the film from feeling as vicious as it otherwise might, and gives what it is an otherwise routine hostage film a distinctive hook. As the stakes are raised in Motherís Day, and the characters begin to behave more rashly, the level of excitement only increases. By the filmís climax, itís laid waste to the majority of its cast, which will repulse some viewers, but stand as something of an attraction to others. For those who lie in the latter camp, Motherís Day comes recommended. Its blood-soaked shamelessness invigorates what would otherwise be a routine thriller.



Jeremy Heilman