DVD Review: Mother's Day
I hope you all wished your mothers a Happy Mother's Day yesterday, if you were able. Mine started off fine, but was eventually marred by a broken washing machine and a 3-year-old who wouldn't nap, which made for a long, loud, frustrating evening. So after she went to bed and my dear husband went to fix the washer (which turned out to be clogged with one of her old bibs!), I settled in to watch a touching story of a doting mother and her obedient children, 2010's Mother's Day. Please note, in this context doting means "manipulative and controlling," while obedient means "psychotic and homicidal."
Said touching story begins with a baby being abducted from the hospital (an "all maternity ward" hospital nonetheless, like those exist), then cuts to a group of 30 somethings having generic fun on a Saturday night, as a tornado approaches. Then three brothers, one of whom was shot during a botched bank robbery, turn up looking for their mother, but unbeknownst to them, the house was foreclosed months prior and now the new occupants and their 7 friends become the trio's hostages. Of course, one of the friends just happens to be a doctor, so he is recruited to look after the brother with a bullet, while the craziest, trigger-happy brother is put in charge of the others and the eldest calls Mother to clean up their mess. What follows tries to be a psychological thriller, but instead falls into lazy torture porn. Just don't forget about that baby abduction, because we'll eventually come back 'round to it.
Rebecca De Mornay (remember her? barely) steps in as Mother, who tries to calm the hostages upon her arrival while reigning in her sons, but whose true demented nature slowly begins to surface as the night drags on. In order to get her fugitive family out of the country, she needs cash, which her sons swear they've been sending her to that address, but whose owners swear never arrived. As Mother tears through the house looking for the cash, the eldest son takes one of the hostages to an ATM for quick cash, and the remaining victims continually try, and fail, to escape the watch of the psycho killer rapist brother.
The biggest issue with Mother's Day is that it tries to parade out several themes, but without really nurturing any. Of course the idea of motherhood and taking care of and losing children is apparent, as Mother handles her brood in a twisted psychological way, while the new owners of the house are suffering from the recent death of a child. However, since there are so many cooks in the kitchen, the film also tries to play out survival of the fittest, as the hostages, who start out as friends, spouses or lovers, begin to turn on each other to save themselves. And while all this is happening, both sides of the conflict are trying to mentally destroy one another, before having to do it physically, but it's all so recycled that no one really matters anyway.
Everything that happens is either a cliché (the impending tornado that causes repeated escape obstacles) or a plot hole (the brothers not knowing about the foreclosed house). The characters have no real personality, so they all look vastly different so you can remember faces, because it's impossible to remember their generic names. And almost every action is so predictable (and typically stupid) that few thrills are left to be experienced.
So of all the headache-inducing things I endured last night, this was the worst. Kids will eventually get their sleep and washers can be fixed, but I'll never get my two hours of freedom back.