DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
HD DVD / Blu-ray
International DVDs
Video Games

Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds

Sponsored Links
Search: For:
Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Mother's Day (2010) (Blu-ray)
Mother's Day (2010) (Blu-ray)
Starz / Anchor Bay // R // May 8, 2012 // Region A
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted April 24, 2012 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Printer Friendly
Well, the Koffin brothers fucked things up pretty royally this time. The latest in their string of bank robberies went south real fast. They're limping away without any of the loot. Johnny (Matt O'Leary) has a hole in his gut the size of a Buick Skylark. It's just a matter of hours before their names and mugshots are plastered across every television in the state. What else are they gonna do but
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
come cryin' home to Momma?

That's kind of the thing, though: Mom don't live there no more. No, the old Koffin homestead has been gobbled up by a yuppie couple (Jaime King and Frank Grillo), and as the bankrobbers are laying their bleedin'-like-a-stuck-pig brother out on that ritzy leather couch, the Sohapis and a bunch of their pals are mindlessly partying down in the basement. While Addley (Warren Kole) and Ike (Patrick John Flueger) wait for their mom to roll in and save the day, they've got a houseful of hostages to play with. Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) puts a stop to that right quick, though. She's not a sadist, and she knows the clock is ticking anyway. She needs ten grand to shuttle her beloved children across the border and has just a few hours to rustle up that much cash. Where that money comes from isn't much of a concern as long as she has it before 8 o'clock, be it from her hostages' bank accounts, the safe in that one guy's drycleaning joint, or the couple months' worth of missing loot that her sons had been mailing to her old address. She is going to get the money she needs one way or another, though, and...yeah, this mama definitely believes in corporal punishment. Wait, did I really just write that? I'm sorry.

This remake-in-pretty-much-name-only of Mother's Day is the sort of flick where...if I weren't butting up against a deadline, I think I'd want to give it another spin before sitting down to write this review. I gravitate towards movies that -- love 'em or hate 'em -- get a really intense reaction out of me. I'm walking away from Mother's Day feeling almost completely indifferent towards it, and that really isn't any good for anyone. Don't get me wrong, though. I respect what director Darren Lynn Bousman has done here. At least it ought to silence critics who dismiss him as just another splatter slinger. Rather than trying to Saw it up, Bousman ensures that Mother's Day is brutal yet restrained. The horror is mostly in the mortified reactions of the other surviving victims rather than long, lingering looks at grisly makeup effects. That's a really difficult balancing act to pull off -- restraint versus pussing out -- and Bousman nails it. There's more of an emphasis on characters than you usually get in movies like this. That's not to say that you really get to know most of these people all that well or that they're lushly multidimensional or whatever, but at least they're not one-note cariactures. Mother's Day doesn't break it down into white hat heroes and black hat badniks. In one corner is a family of killers, and they all have their charismatic and/or sympathetic streaks. They adhere to something resembling a moral code. They're not needlessly cruel...or, at least, they're not supposed to be. Unlike most home invasion thrillers, you get the sense that they really would rather be out the door if that were an option. The gaggle of friends on the other end of the torment quickly turn on one another, backstabbing and betraying whoever they need to in order to save their own skins. Though Mother's Day does pit friend-against-friend in the name of survival a couple of times in ways that seem awfully Saw-esque, that's not really the driving force of the story. It also doesn't hurt to have someone with Darren Lynn Bousman's stylish visual eye on the other end of the camera, and Mother's Day benefits almost as much
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
from that is it does from the fearless, talented cast.

The best and worst thing about Mother's Day is the show-stealing turn by Rebecca DeMornay. The film's first twenty minutes are flat and largely uninvolving, but all of that changes the instant DeMornay steps in front of the camera. Momma is charming yet chilling. DeMornay effortlessly sells lines like "every time I turn my back, you boys make a mess!" that would've devolved into campy schlock in just about any other hands. One of those bad guys you can't help but root for, her entrancing, powerful presence makes Mom the best thing about every single scene she's in. The only downside to that is...well, just about every scene she's not in starts to seem like dead air. As much as I like the rest of the cast, this really is DeMornay's movie, and no one else in Mother's Day is remotely as interesting or compelling as she is. The shades of grey that color Mother's Day's characters seem like they ought to be a nice touch, although that leaves the movie so low on truly likeable folks that I couldn't feel all that invested in what happens to 'em. I have mixed feelings about the runtime. Most of the home invasion thrillers I've come across are unrelentingly swift and brutal...often barely approaching feature-length. I get why Mother's Day is a two hour movie -- forty miles of bad road and all that -- but the pacing still seems too relaxed for my tastes, and the sheer volume of subplots and characters make it all feel kind of unfocused. I appreciate that this is a cruel, vicious movie without leaning on cartoonish geysers of blood, but still, it's nowhere near as unnerving, disturbing, or intense as I'd hoped it'd be either. The bleak tone Bousman strikes is where it ought to be, neither unflinchingly sadistic nor smirkingly post-modern, but I just didn't find myself getting sucked into this movie. Mother's Day makes for a surprisingly passive experience.

Darren Lynn Bousman mentions in his audio commentary that even though reviews of Mother's Day were decidedly mixed, at least they were polarizing. The people who dug the movie really liked it, and those who didn't...well, really didn't. Bousman notes that hardly anyone fell in the middle, and he's proud of that because every filmmaker wants to make a strong impression, even if it's not exactly the one they were hoping to get. Nothing's worse than an indifferent shrug, although...yeah, that's kind of where I fall with this whole thing. I respect what Bousman is aiming for here, but I don't think this Mother's Day warrants a card or flowers or even a cheery phone call. Rent It.

Ehhh, Mother's Day looks okay in high-def. The photography is definitely a notch or two softer than average, so even though you can tell with a glance that this is something more than DVD could
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
ever hope to deliver, it's not dazzlingly detailed or strikingly sharp or anything. The heavily stylized flashback that opens Mother's Day makes an immediate impression with its cranked-up contrast and hypersaturated palette. The visuals from there tend to be more dour and muted, reflecting the overall bleak tone of the film. Black levels remain consistently deep and inky throughout, and the image isn't dragged down by any excessive noise reduction or edge enhancement. Sometimes things do look a little unstable, such as the violent ghosting of the fire extinguisher in...what, the very shot of the flick? That's not a persistent nuisance or anything, but I wonder if Mother's Day would've been better off if the AVC encode for this two hour-ish movie would've had more than 21 gigs to play around with. Anyway, the short answer is "okay". Not great. But pretty good.

Technical stuff! AVC encode. Aspect ratio of 2.39:1 or thereabouts. Single-layer Blu-ray disc. The DVD in this combo pack, meanwhile, is presented in anamorphic widescreen.

Mother's Day is lugging around a 24-bit Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. I'll admit that dialogue struck me as seeming kind of meek in the mix early on, but I warmed up to that quickly enough. Every last line is rendered cleanly and clearly, not marred by any hiss, background noise, unintentional dropouts, or distortion. The surrounds are subtly enveloping, establishing a tremendous sense of place. Home invasion thrillers are claustrophobic by nature, and the sound design here reinforces that remarkably well. I also love some of the clever sonic touches, obscuring or dropping the dialogue out entirely to ratchet up the tension. Mother's Day also benefits from an LFE channel that's often snarling with ferocity. A very solid effort.

No dubs or downmixes this time around. Subtitles are limited to English (SDH) and Spanish.

  • Audio Commentary: Director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor Shawn Ashmore hop in front of the mic for Mother's Day's commentary track. It's one of those things where I don't...really have a lot to
    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
    say about it, I guess, but I did find this commentary to be a worthy listen. Y'know, it's kinda relaxed, laid-back, and chatty. Bousman does talk about the fact that Mother's Day was collecting dust on various studios' shelves for a couple years straight. I hadn't put two-and-two together between the plot of this film and the real-life Wichita Horror until Bousman delved into how this remake-in-name-only came together. Among the other standout notes are the 'jump scare pass' that was done to help drum up foreign sales, digitally removing a big snot bubble, how much was cut out from the initial four hour assembly (including some barbell-fu set to "Momma Said Knock You Out"), and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Lloyd and Charles Kaufman.
...aaaaand that's it. Bousman references somewhere in the neighborhood of eight thousand different deleted scenes in his commentary, but not a single one of 'em made it to this Blu-ray disc.

Oh, and Mother's Day is a combo pack that also serves up an an anamorphic widescreen DVD.

The Final Word
This kinda-sorta-remake of Mother's Day has finally escaped onto video store shelves after a couple years in distribution hell, but I can't really say it was worth the wait. Don't get me wrong, though; Darren Lynn Bousman gets a lot right, and easily topping that list is the brilliant casting of Rebecca DeMornay in the title role. The thing is that she's so phenomenal that everything else, as well done as it is, seems kinda flat by comparison. Mother's Day is a competent thriller whose dark, twisted heart is in the right place, but the movie as a whole just doesn't really work for me. Rent It.
Find the lowest price for 'Mother's Day (2010) (Blu-ray)'
Popular Reviews
1. Matinee
2. Wuthering Heights (1970)
3. Teen Titans: The Complete First Season
4. One Million B.C. (redux)
5. It
6. Not as a Stranger
7. Battle Of The Sexes
8. The Snowman (2017)
9. Victoria & Abdul
10. Men in Black Trilogy: 20th Anniversary 4K Edition

Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use