Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Mother's Day (2010)
It is one of those horror movies you have to be in the mood for. Some say, of course, that one has to be in the proper mood for any horror movie; but as this is a blog for horror movie fans, I'm not speaking to the lay moviewatcher. Still, this is the type of horror movie that I believe even genre fans need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy. Because, otherwise, I could see some of the movie's antics becoming increasingly annoying. Don't get me wrong, though, it isn't like an exploitation film or an all-out bananas massacre like Cannibal Holocaust. It's a well-executed, intense home-invasion, survival genre flick that has all the staging of a stock, cliché movie we've become desensitized to, yet has managed to be fresh and exciting.
Exciting is probably the best word to describe the movie. My ADD threshold is capped at the standard horror-movie 90-minute mark, and when I saw that this was 112 minutes I was concerned. Then, by the end, I realized that I was so enthralled I completely ignored my internal ADD alarm. The movie's plot and pacing are such that the movie never sags. The mood, tone, etc. intensify throughout each of the three acts. There's no overwhelming exposition, and the violence increases in a balanced manner so as to not go overboard too easily (thereby peaking the audience's attention too early in the film). In terms of the violent bits, the audience is constantly put into a cringe-inducing state of oh-man-no-way-this-can't-happen, which is offset by sudden blasts of visual stimulation that will catch you off-guard in the best possible way.
As an added bonus, almost every character is interesting and fresh despite being a stock character. So again with the pattern of what should be a lame movie actually being fresh. It feels contradictory to me to be saying this, seeing as how I'm constantly berating movies for "not giving us anything new." But somehow this movie works without giving us anything new. Anyway, back to the characters. The antagonists come complete with the hot-headed, unstable psychopath; the even-tempered, controlled character who can equalize the former; the shy, outcast who is psychologically brainwashed; and the tyrannical leader of the pack. In this case, the tyrannical leader is played by Rebecca De Mornay, who plays "Mother" and is a perfect fit for the role. As for the protagonists, no one really stands out from the group except Briana Evigan (they're more just nice, glossy characters to look at) and yet they all do exactly what they're supposed to do. No one underacts or attempts to overact. The composite of the captives' personalities creates an enjoyable on-screen chemistry.
I guess it's clear that I'm giving Mother's Day my stamp of approval. It's definitely a surprising little gem of entertainment that proves the home-invasion thriller (mixed with elements of splatter film, I might add) isn't dead yet. And like the recently reviewed Kidnapped (where we also meet some of these same stock characters), it remains intense and interesting for the entire duration of the film, which is a big plus when there's nothing about the film (i.e. no buzz) compelling you to watch it. I mean, look, what other proof do you need? I've basically wasted five paragraphs saying the same thing, without really telling you anything about the movie. Watch it now.