Why “Mother’s Day” (2010) is an Underrated Masterpiece

Initially the plan was to do an in depth comparison of the 1980 version of Mother’s Day with its 2010 remake.

However, after re-watching both in preparation, it became quite clear that the 2010 was superior in almost every way.

Instead, I’ve decided to shine a light on the 2010 Mother’s Day, which didn’t get nearly the attention it deserves.

So let’s celebrate our mothers by diving into this deeply disturbing, and very underrated film!

“Semi” Remake
Other than the title, and that fact that it’s a violent horror film, there really isn’t that much in common between the original 1980 film and its 2010 remake.

The original is fun in a campy way, but it didn’t exactly age well either…

And perhaps this the first step to its success. We’ve seen remakes like Psycho and Carrie received poorly because they essentially made the very same film over again, changing hardly anything.

To be fair however, if you change too much, fans revolt, as we saw with Rob Zombie’s Halloween. The original Mother’s Day however, wasn’t exactly a beloved classic, so audiences were more willing to accept a new version.

Amazing Cast
Director Darren Lynn Bousman assembled a cast with included a variety of great actors who were either already in, or would go on to be in really iconic horror films.

It really is a who’s who of horror, including (L to R, Top to Bottom) Shawn Ashmore (Frozen, Hatchet II), Lyriq Bent (Saw II, III and IV), Briana Evigan (The Devil’s Carnival), Frank Grillo (The Purge Anarchy and Election Year), Jaime King (My Bloody Valentine remake), Rebecca De Mornay (The Shining miniseries), J. Larose (Saw III), Deborah Ann Woll (Escape Room).

They make for a strong ensemble, and honestly, we’re never quite sure who the true “main character” is because a few of them could be. And it’s that ensemble that really sells the movie.

Each character has their own strong motivation, and is surprisingly believable. For the hostages, some keep their cool and try to manipulate the captors, some freak out and lose their cool.

Others play the long game, trying to find a point of weakness to exploit it.  It’s the variety of reactions you’d expect from a group of different people.

Of course, when talking about the cast, there’s no way we can’t mention Rebecca De Mornay, the titular “Mother” and by far the most interesting character of the movie.

We all like to pretend we know what we would do in situations like this, but until you’re in one, it’s impossible to know.

Mother is ruthless, calculating, homicidal, but also quite loving and sympathetic towards her “children”.

Her sons may be hardened criminals, but all it takes a scolding look from her to put them in their place. She always maintains control, and while she’s extremely polite and not unnecessarily cruel to the hostages.

However, when it is necessary, she can turn absolutely brutal in an instant. She’s a well-rounded villain who makes the film all the more interesting.

Rebecca De Mornay portrayed a three dimensional character, who happened to be a villain. Honestly, she deserved an Oscar nomination for this!

Learning From Saw
The 2000’s is often known as the era of “torture porn” thanks to the likes of the Saw and Hostel franchises.

And because of this, there were many pretenders, many films that tried to be brutal simply for the sake of it. In most cases, it failed miserably, because these would-be Saw knockoffs lacked the necessary depth.

Darren Lynn Bousman however, having directed Saw II, III, and IV, knew how to use that brutality to drive a point home.

For Mother and her demented children, their philosophy is that anyone can become a sadistic killer if the situation calls for it, and quite often, we see these ordinary people forced into these scenarios.

A lot of the fear and tension comes from the threat of violence, rather than the overt use of it.

Bousman took everything he learned from making three of the best Saw films and really put it use here!

Legitimately Tense
All of this culminates together into a tense horror/thriller that makes us care about these characters, then watch them go through this traumatic experience.

Going all the way back to Bousman’s original script for “The Desperate” (which ultimately became Saw II), he was interested in telling stories of ordinary people being forced into vicious situations like this.

We get a variety of harshly violent kills that never feel cheap or exploitative, rather they pack an emotional punch.

Mother’s Day may have very little do with the holiday itself (other than being about a particular mother), but it’s a brilliant underrated classic that not only surpasses its original.

It may also just be the best film Darren Lynn Bousman has ever made (including his Saw entries). So if your mom is into horror, this is a perfect watch for Mother’s Day!

It’s an awesomely underrated movie that really fell between the cracks. If you haven’t seen it, now’s a great time to check it out!

Mother’s Day (2010) is currently streaming on Tubi!

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