“Every time I turn my back, you boys make a mess,” chides Rebecca De Mornay’s doting mom to her errant offspring in a mildly scolding tone that suggests they have just upset their breakfast cereal. Yet the mess in question in the gripping home-invasion thriller Mother’s Day couldn’t be further removed from spilled milk.
Mom’s three boys, Addley, Johnny and Ike, are on the lam following a botched bank robbery. With Johnny bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound and a tornado on its way, they have gone to ground in their former Kansas home. Unbeknown to them, however, the house is now occupied by a yuppie couple (Jaime King and Frank Grillo), who bought it in a foreclosure sale and are currently in the midst of a birthday celebration with six of their friends.
Taking the revellers hostage, the trio summon their fiercely protective mother, who arrives with the boys’ sister, Lydia, and immediately takes charge, outlining her ‘rules’ with scarily calm implacability. From here on, the story becomes a bloody game of cat-and-mouse as the friends take ever more desperate measures in their struggle to stay alive while their captors strive to raise the money that will fund their escape over the border into Canada.
A very loose remake of a low-budget 1980 slasher movie from exploitation specialists Troma, Mother’s Day is taut, violent and gruesome, as you’d expect with director Darren Lynn Bousman, maker of three of the Saw sequels, at the helm.
Yet what makes the film perversely watchable, despite the carnage, is De Mornay’s terrifying matriarch, a screen psycho to match her iconic role as The Hand That Rocks the Cradle’s nanny-from-hell. Speaking in a tone of calm reason as she ratchets the terror up another notch, De Mornay’s Mother hovers on the edge of pitch-dark black comedy without ever descending into camp. Destined, I suspect, for cult status, she truly is the mother of all monsters. Or, as she puts it herself, “I swear, sometimes you boys are just little savages.”
On general release from 10th June.