On Second Thought: “Mother’s Day (2010)”

 Something wicked this way comes. No, not Julia Roberts in that horrible looking wig. A different kind of evil. What? You didn’t really think I’d miss out on this holiday? Surprisingly there are a lot of films that work well for it, even if they’re less than stellar.

The Anchor Bay Films film “Mother’s Day”, is nothing but a bad excuse to create more torture porn, Because there wasn’t enough already out there.

This horror film stars Rebecca De Mornay (“I Am Wrath”, “Lucifer”), Jaime King (“Barely Lethal”, “Hart of Dixie”), Briana Evigan (“Monday at 11:01 A.M.”, “Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival”), Patrick Flueger (“Chicago P.D.”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”), Warren Kole (“Blue Bloods”, “Shades of Blue”), Deborah Ann Woll (“Daredevil (TV series)”, “The Automatic Hate”), Frank Grillo (upcoming “The Purge: Election Year”, “Captain America: Civil War”), Matt O’ Leary (“Game of Silence”, “The Submarine Kid”), Jessie Rusu (“Aftermath”, “96 Minutes”), Lyriq Bent (upcoming “Coconut Hut”, “Pay the Ghost”), Lisa Marcos (“Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments”, “Lost Girl”), Tony Nappo (“The Girlfriend Experience”, “Lost & Found Music Studios), Kandyse McClure (“Supernatural”, “Heritage Minutes”), and Shawn Ashmore (upcoming episodes and series “Relationship Status”, “Conviction”).

The film was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (“Tales of Halloween”, “The Devil’s Carnival: Alleluia!”) and written by Scott Milam (“Submerged”).

The film debuted at the Fantastic Fest on Sept. 23, 2010 and elsewhere until finally getting released in a limited capacity on May 4, 2012 before being released on DVD on May 8.

This film, it’s certainly one I’ll never understand. Another thing I’ll never understand, which may be more important than the film itself, is how I can possibly watch this film so many times. I think this time marks the third time, maybe fourth, that I’ve seen this film. And each time, since the first, I’ve found myself regretting the decision to watch it. Well, the upside to this viewing, at least there will be a reason behind it. I can finally put this film behind me and focus on the ones that are better, and a few that most would steer clear of, but I’d be willing to welcome with open arms.

I think this is supposed to be some kind of horror film, and if that’s the case, well it fails at that. It’s not really a horror film. Well, not to any standard that I consider the genre to be, one that so many people are still incapable of properly classifying films into. This film falls into an annoying special category of “horror”, which is what drove me away from a once promising franchise. It’s “torture porn”. That’s the only way to describe it. This film has a plot, but the problem is, it’s paper thin. It’s the most obnoxious plot I’ve ever seen, especially since this is a remake and a lot of other, and better, films have come out. It’s essentially a home invasion film, but without thrills or anything worthwhile, and a lot of “torture porn” elements. A lot of horror films or action films are violent, and that can be okay so long as there’s a purpose. This film has no purpose for any of its gratuitous violence and the many overkills that are sprinkled throughout this film. I feel that the only thing this film set out to do was see how much you could endure? So, in a way, it’s like being involved in one of those shitty “Saw” films, circa 2007 onward.

Something else that this film does so well, which may actually be worse than all the “torture porn”, is exist far longer than it needed to. Mind you, some will probably be thinking that the fact that this film exists at all is one minute too long. I can understand. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, somehow this film is way too long. I’d say by about 20 minutes or so. The gruesome murders and mutilation were surprisingly not the reason for my believing this, although they certainly didn’t hurt my being convinced. There were so many places where I felt that Milam was merely wasting time. I think Milam actually thought he was providing some sort of character depth, or something involving character. However, like the rest of the film, that is not how it turned out. The characters were all just too obnoxious and too stupid. There was no saving them. In horror films, it’s probably generally expected that you’ll like and root for the victims to survive, even if you know so little about them, but in this case, I didn’t. I could care less. There’s only character in this film that I thought was worth taking an interest in.

De Mornay is the best thing about this film. Not because of the attempts at humanizing her or making her seem sympathetic came close to working. They didn’t. These attempts, plus all of her other actions, were just fascinating. While her character still falls very short, even by these standards, of being a fully interesting villain or complete character, she’s definitely closer to that of a character study, at least whatever that means and looks like in a horror film. I simply couldn’t get enough of her. She clearly has very strict rules, and in some ways, albeit in contradictory form, has a certain moral compass that guides her. In this way, and because of De Mornay being De Mornay, she’s an excellent choice for this part, and not too wasted. The only thing that would’ve been better is for the story itself to have been much more interesting. Oh well, while it’s not perfect, I’ll take it. De Mornay’s character does make this film a helluva lot more bearable, but not by much.

Some horror films, excuse me “horror” films shouldn’t be made. They’re seldom worth it and do nothing to show that this is a genre that’s worthy of survival. Too often people go for quick and lazy, almost gimmicky scares instead of really working it unnerve some audience member, and then scare crap out of them in some clever way. As is the case with this film, it wasn’t at all about scaring people. No, the primary goal was to see how long it would take until someone lost their lunch all over themselves. At least when people got sick or upset when watching other horror films it was because what they saw was truly terrifying. Today, now that so many decades and many films have come and gone, that is no longer the case. It will never be the case again. And who’s fault is that? Studios? Writers? No, the same damn audience who claims to want more horror. What idiots.

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