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The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
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The new owners of a home pick the wrong day to host a birthday party when their bash is crashed by the house's previous occupants. They are composed of three fugitive bank robber brothers, their sister, and their protective and psychotic mother. A hostage crisis ensues as the mother plots her family's big escape. Those who thought that the story would be similar to the original will find that to be incorrect. This appears to only be loosely based off of the original B-movie. This remake is much more of a home invasion, which just happens to have the old Mother's Day spin on it. Things quickly go down the gutter, although that doesn't stop this movie from running over an hour and forty minutes. It's definitely a bit long for this type of movie. Before anything bad occurs to the partiers, audiences will already hope that some of these partiers are able to make it out. The further into the running time it gets, the film quickly wears out its welcome. Every single one of these partiers are utter morons. Some fans of the film will try to protect this by saying that, "You don't know what you would do in a home invasion type situation." Any human being with common sense wouldn't do any of the stuff that these characters do. Apart from the characters, Mother's Day attempts to be a full-blooded thriller. although it fails at almost everything it tries to be. There isn't any tension here that grabbed me at any point in this feature and the horror aspects of it are ripped to shreds due to the fact that I don't care about any of these characters because of their stupidity, which tears all believability right out of the story. Some may say that I'm being a bit harsh, but this is an inconsistent mess.
With the screenplay being in such a rough state, the acting couldn't be much better, right? Well, you just might be surprised. While there are some familiar faces from some other horror based projects, such as Jaime King (My Bloody Valentine 3D), Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), Briana Evigan (Sorority Row), and Shawn Ashmore (Frozen), the main star is Rebecca De Mornay. She performs as 'Mother' and is absolutely terrific. She's incredibly creepy and convincing in the role of the psychotic mother. De Mornay is certainly the strongest asset Mother's Day has to offer. However, that isn't to say that the rest of the cast doesn't deliver. The acting here isn't bad by any means, although the characters are so unlikable rooting back to the screenplay that it's difficult to see many of these actors shine. The two runner ups for the strongest performances are Deborah Ann Woll as the sister of the robbers and Shawn Ashmore as George Barnum, one of the partiers. He's definitely the smartest out of the bunch, therefore one of the few characters we're actually rooting for. I found myself a bit surprised here with some solid performances, especially that of Rebecca De Mornay.
As far as the visuals go, I wasn't worried from the beginning. Darren Lynn Bousman provided a strong atmosphere and artistic direction to the Saw entries that he worked on. I had no problems with the atmosphere here, but the gross out gags is where the film shines. The violence isn't quite as constant as Saw, although there are some nice gruesome effects. They include scenes such as burning a human's head alive and bashing somebody's hand in with a pool ball until their hand is broken. It all looks quite real. The audio work is decent, but nothing spectacular. The soundstage is filled with some nice immersive and atmospheric sounds, although there are problems during the climax, to be specific. The gun shots sound far too thin and the bass is sloppy. I believe that Mother's Day could've utilized further.
The attempt at being either a successful horror or thriller film has failed. There isn't very much tension and there are too many 'protagonists' that are irritating to the point of not caring what happens next. I realize that a script re-imagining a B-movie isn't going to be gold, but it should be able to draw me in and hold my attention. Instead, this one hour and forty minutes felt much longer than it should've. There isn't any guarantee that fans of the original Troma flick are going to enjoy this either, as it's a completely different take on the story. The acting is surprisingly decent, especially by Rebecca De Mornay, Shawn Ashmore, and Deborah Ann Woll. The visuals are decent, but the audio leaves us with desiring a better mixed track. To be honest, I can completely understand why not many studios wanted to touch this one. I suppose Mother's Day has its audience, but I found it to be quite a bit under average. Skip it.