Cody and Priscilla honor the mothers of the world with viewings of Mother's Day 1980 and 2010.
MOTHER'S DAY (1980)
Priscilla and I often like to pick movies for our monthly Remake Comparison articles that are relevant to events held or holidays celebrated during the month each article is posted in. Previous examples include Black Christmas, My Bloody Valentine, and Prom Night. So the choice for May could only be Mother's Day.
Charles Kaufman, brother of Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman, was interested in making a movie of his own, but didn't have much money at his disposal, so he had to make the type of film that could be successfully made on a low budget and still be accepted by a wide audience. As far as he was concerned, his own choices were a sex film of either the softcore or hardcore varieties, or a horror movie. In the years before Troma started making movies like The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke 'Em High, Lloyd's focus was on sex-based comedies - Squeeze Play, Stuck on You!, and The First Turn-On!! Charles could have done the same (and in fact wrote the screenplays for some of Lloyd's movies), but he had the feeling that horror was going to have a resurgence, particularly after the success of John Carpenter's Halloween in 1978. So he moved forward on making a genre picture.
Charles Kaufman wrote the screenplay for his horror movie with a writer named Warren Leight, who would go on to have a great, prolific career that continues to this day. Currently, Leight provides scripts for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and in the years between Mother's Day and SVU has won a Tony and been nominated for a Pulitzer for his work as a playwright.
The story Kaufman and Leight crafted centers on a tight-knit trio of female friends - Abbey, Jackie, and Trina - who were roommates at Wolfbreath College, class of 1970, and call themselves the Rat Pack. The women have gone off in separate directions since graduating from college, both in the geographical sense and in life. Things don't appear to have turned out very well for Abbey and Jackie. Living in Chicago, Abbey's life consists of caring for her bedridden, awful, nagging, name-calling mother. In New York City, Jackie lives with a lazy boyfriend who does nothing but lay around their apartment, stealing from her and snorting cocaine. She loves him, he doesn't love her. Trina, on the other hand, is living "the good life" in Beverly Hills. We see her hosting a very Boogie Nights-esque pool party; there's rollerskating, older men discussing film and the film business, cocaine snorting, and people being served by a shirtless butler.
You'd think that Abbey is old enough and could probably afford to put her mother from hell in some type of institution or something, and also that Jackie can do better than Mr. Too Sensitive. The guy uses her for shelter and money and apparently is too sensitive to work. But not sensitive enough to tell her he loves her. Well, he doesn't...and she knows it, but she chooses to stay in what seems to be an extremely lousy relationship.
Compared to both of them, Trina got the golden ticket. But thinking about it, those older, unattractive men at the pool party kind of looked like total creeps, so...I don't know how much fun she was actually having.
The way they show New York is truly terrifying, like there's only troubled, mad people walking around. I've always wanted to go to New York, but between this movie and Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, I'm not so sure. I guess I'll just keep picturing it the way it's shown in Sex and the City until I can see for myself.
While he thought horror was where things were going, Kaufman wanted to mix a good amount of humor into his horror movie as well. It's clear in the comedically slanted scenes that Charles has a similar sense of humor to his brother Lloyd, moments like a guy getting so goofy-wasted on cocaine at Trina's pool party that he falls over is something you wouldn't be surprised to find in any given Troma movie.
However, my favorite bit of comedy at the pool party comes from a senior citizen who tries to hit on bikini-clad women young enough to be his granddaughters by quoting Stanley Kubrick.
Every year, the Rat Pack gets together for a "mystery weekend" planned out by a different member of the group. This year, Jackie is the mastermind. She picks Abbey and Trina up at a bus stop in Drexburg, New Jersey, then drives them off into the countryside toward the Deep Barons Wilderness Area. During a stop at a country store where banjo-pickers sit out front, the girls accidentally cause a mess of the store's items and the proprietor turns out to be a backwoods doomsayer, warning this bunch of "lez-beans" that they'll get what they deserve in the Deep Barons and "won't be causin' no one no trouble no more".
They did a number on that store! I actually almost felt bad for the guy, but he sounded like a jerk. Makes it hard to sympathize.
The store owner is like a goofy version of Friday the 13th's Crazy Ralph... Charles Kaufman was right that horror was on the cusp of a resurgence when he was making Mother's Day, and Friday the 13th was a big part of that resurgence. While Kaufman's movie came out a few months later in 1980 than F13 did, the two movies were actually filming at the same time, in the same area.
As Friday the 13th was being filmed at a Boy Scout camp, the production of Mother's Day was based at the Girl Scout camp right across the lake. Both movies even shot on the exact same road, with only a couple feet of difference in their choice of camera placement. While Jackie is driving the girls into the country in Mother's Day and while the characters of Jack, Marcie, and Ned are driving toward Camp Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th, their vehicles drive past the same farm.
It is a big coincidence and a very funny fact that the two movies were being made at the same time, pretty much at the same place. But for some reason the woods and even the lake look way better in Friday the 13th. Also, those coincidences are as far as it goes when comparing the two movies. Mother's Day is barely horror, in the usual sense. It is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen, but the wrong type of scary...as in, I'm going "help, this is so completely insane!" in my mind the whole time.
Arriving at the Deep Barons, the girls hike deep into the woods, leaving a trail of empty beer cans behind them. They set up camp at the edge of the lake and prepare to spend the weekend drinking, smoking marijuana, playing pranks on each other, and reminiscing about the good old days at Wolfbreath College.
It's hilarious how inappropriately dressed Trina and Abbey are. It was Jackie's turn to plan the trip, but they all had sleeping bags and camp gear with them, so they had an idea. Still, Trina wears high heels and fancy nightgowns, and Abbey likes to be pantless in the middle of the woods, during the night. Cold or bugs don't seem to bother her. Lucky.
I've had really close girlfriends all my life and we never went swimming together naked. That's something that only happens in these types of movies. Sorry, guys.
The girls also have a weed-enhanced conversation pondering whether or not marshmallows are the only truly American food, since you can't get them anywhere outside of the United States, not even in Brazil. I find it hard to believe that you can't find marshmallows in any other country. Do you have marshmallows in Brazil, Priscilla?
We do have marshmallows here in Brazil, but they're still not very easy to find in some regions, which leads me to believe that maybe we really didn't have them at all back in 1980. So, maybe they were right.
The Rat Pack has always stood up for each other, they say "When you're with the Rat Pack, no one dumps on you", a stance that allows for a flashback to when the girls got revenge on one of Jackie's many bad boyfriends (being pushed around is the story of Jackie's life) with a prank involving nudity on a baseball diamond, a fun comedic scene that "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James & the Shondells plays over.
The funniest thing about that scene is how old they all look trying to pass as college kids. That being said, it is a nice thing to see, when it comes to their relationship. It shows that they've been close and had each other's backs since then.
Their get-togethers are easily the best part of Abbey and Jackie's years, but Trina lives the good life, so she's starting to get bored with these Rat Pack jaunts. The possibility that Trina might start flaking out on them appears to be the biggest concern the girls are going to have this weekend... But then they find out what the store owner was so afraid of, the threat that lurks within Deep Barons...
The audience is already aware of the danger, due to the film's opening kill sequence. This sequence makes Charles having a similar sense of humor as his brother apparent right up front, as the movie begins at a self-improvement seminar, a satire of a movement that was going on at the time, where the guru leaves his program graduates with this advice, "And remember, once you go out those doors, don't stop to think about what you feel. Because once you stop to think about what you feel, you doubt what you know. And once you doubt what you know, you're gonna assume you don't know it. Why? Because you don't act on it. Once you know what you know, you act on it."
Among the attendees is a kindly old lady, who gives a ride to two of her classmates, a man and woman who are hippie types and act rather shady. When the old lady's car breaks down in the woods, the woman slides behind the driver's seat while the lady looks under the hood... the man seems to be urging the woman to do something terrible, even pulling her hair when she doesn't immediately comply. Finally, she does what he wants. She turns on the radio.
I thought for sure that the wig couple was going to do something bad to the old lady. I say wig couple because the guy is clearly wearing an awful wig, but I'm not so sure that the woman is. I think that might be her real hair, they just made it look like a wig...I have no idea why.
These hippies aren't going to attack the old lady, the old lady has led them into a trap. Two men burst out of the woods, decapitating the man, beating the woman and nearly raping her before the old lady breaks things up and strangles her. The smiling old lady then notifies the two murderous madmen that mother is very proud of them.
The decapitation scene is very amusing. I like it a lot.
If you look closely, you can see that the female hippie gets splattered with the guy's blood before the decapitation even happens.
Now Abbey, Jackie, and Trina have made the mistake of wandering into the killers' territory, making them their next intended victims.
We'll come to find out that this psychotic elderly mother lives in perpetual fear of her older sister Queenie, an evil woman who was born with long white hair and who broke her younger sibling's neck while she was still in the crib, explaining why she wears a neck brace to this day. When the girls' mother found out Queenie had broken the baby's neck, she shot her, cut off her ear as proof she was killed, and tossed the body out in the woods. But Queenie's younger sister has witnessed her out in the forest, killing animals, living like an animal herself. She knows their mother just let Queenie loose, and she knows Queenie would kill her if she ever got the chance. So to stay safe, Mother keeps her two sons, now grown into incredibly dimwitted, uneducated man-children, at home with her, beating it into their heads that "you will never leave me".
It doesn't seem like Queenie wanted to kill any of her family members. The house wasn't very secure at all, and they spent a lot of time outside, so if she really wanted to kill them, she would have, a long time ago. Maybe Queenie was misunderstood...or maybe she attacked strangers only.
But Mother does her best to keep life in the wilderness interesting for her boys, bringing home people for them to murder with her, capturing campers like Abbey, Jackie, and Trina to bring home to their shabby, crumbling house in the woods (an abandoned house the production found whose previous owner had died in it) and torturing them, making them play out twisted, sexually charged, violent scenarios with names like "The Kojak" and "The Shirley Temple". Mother supervises while their sons brutalize the women and judges their performances.
Those "games" and the interactions between mother and sons really make this movie one of the scariest I've ever seen.
The Mother's name is never revealed, but her sons are named Ike and Addley, and like their namesakes Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson II, these two are always at odds. Eisenhower and Stevenson ran against each other in the '52 and '56 presidential elections, however I don't think they ever argued about the things Ike and Addley do, which is primarily the suckiness of punk versus the stupidity of disco.
As is her lot in life, Jackie is the first to bear the brunt of the family's horrific actions. But while the family is distracted the next morning with their training and exercise routine, Abbey and Trina manage to get loose from their restraints and escape into the woods.
It always gets to me how long it takes for Trina and Abbey to escape. The very distorted family was preoccupied with their nonsense for such a long time. More than enough for the women to be far away from that dreadful place.
Jackie is dead, and rather than leave the Deep Barons and alert the nearest authorities, Abbey and Trina take it upon themselves to avenge their friend and turn the family's brutality back around on them.
The revenge part is really good and I love how brutal the two women get. I especially love it when Abbey kills the mother, because in reality she wishes she was saying those things and doing that to her own nightmare of a mom. In her head she did, and when she realizes it, it gets emotional.
In addition to not contacting the police, they also decide that just burying Jackie in the woods is a good idea, rather than taking her back into civilization for a proper funeral.
I guess maybe the sensitive jerk was all the "loved ones" Jackie had. Still, burying her there is pretty bizarre. And almost mean, leaving her body in that place. Another thing I don't like is how Trina and Abbey make it sound like they chose to survive and Jackie didn't. It wasn't about fighting, it was about luck. Jackie was unlucky enough to be picked first. The revenge part is filled with "girl power" message, and then something like that almost ruins it. She was sexually assaulted, beat to death (literally), but she didn't make it because she wasn't a fighter. What??
Mother's Day is really a mash-up of all sorts of genres, because not only does it have very amusing comedy and horror that is cringe-inducing with its brutality, but the climax of the film also plays like a classic revenge film.
There are two parts that feel a little bit more like a horror movie, which happen to be my favorites. One is when Trina is in the sleeping bag being lowered from the window during the escape and Abbey has to pull the bag back up because the crazy dudes are right there. It's a great scene, I like the suspense.
It's great how the rope starts to tear into Abbey's hands while she's doing that. Then she has to tape them up before the revenge section.
And the other horror moment is the jump scare, which is pretty cool.
It's a very interesting movie to watch as a horror fan, because it's essentially a backwoods slasher, even if Ike and Addley aren't the typical slasher types. But this was before the wave of slashers hit and a formula was established (Sean S. Cunningham was creating a template across the lake on Friday the 13th), so Kaufman didn't really have movies of this sort to look at and compare his story to. Because of that, he had a very original approach to the subject matter.
I didn't really know what to expect when I watched it for the first time. I wasn't crazy about it, but I liked it better the second time around. The parts in the woods are the best.
On his audio commentary, Kaufman jokes about how the cast was assembled by choosing friends who they didn't have to pay all that much, but the cast he got does some fantastic work. Nancy Hendrickson, Deborah Luce, and Tiana Pierce are all great as the Rat Pack, and Holden McGuire and Billy Ray McQuade are hilariously silly and yet still dangerous as Ike and Addley.
The cast is kind of above what you'd expect from such a sleazy movie. The three women do a very good job at making their friendship feel like the real thing. The sons are gross and very creepy.
Coincidentally, Kaufman cast a television actress from decades past as the homicidal mother in his movie just like Sean S. Cunnningham did on Friday the 13th with the casting of Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees. Kaufman's Mother is played by Beatrice Pons (under the stage name Rose Ross), who had recurring roles on both The Phil Silvers Show and Car 54, Where Are You? She plays this twisted old lady in a wonderfully unnerving way.
Beatrice Pons was so good in this that at the beginning I believed she was a nice old lady about to be either scammed or killed, or both, the first time I saw this movie, which was only a few months ago. It's disturbing how good she was as a total nut job in this.
Kaufman also got a great score from composers Phil Gallo and Clem Vicari to accompany his images.
Mother's Day may not be one of the most popular early '80s horror offerings, it has a very oddball tone that won't sit well with every horror fan, and it does things a bit differently from the norm, but I appreciate what a unique film it is, and while it's not a movie that I watch all that regularly, it's a film that I enjoy and laugh along with when I do watch it.
I've only seen the original Mother's Day twice so far, and even though I won't be watching it every other month, I plan on watching it sometimes. I don't love it, but I do like it, especially for how weird it is. That makes it somewhat interesting to me.
MOTHER'S DAY (2010)
When the remake boom hit, Lloyd Kaufman started getting offers for the remake rights to certain films from the Troma Entertainment library. He held off for a while, but times are tough for indie companies, and selling those rights could provide some extra cash to help keep Troma afloat. Eventually, he let the remake rights to both the most popular Troma film, The Toxic Avenger, and his brother's Mother's Day go to a producer named Richard Saperstein. While The Toxic Avenger re-do remains in development, Saperstein and fellow producer/filmmaker Brett Ratner got the Mother's Day remake shot rather quickly... Although behind-the-scenes issues kept the film from being released for two years, and then it got a much smaller release than it was expected to.
The producers hired Darren Lynn Bousman, fresh off the success of Saw parts 2, 3, and 4, to direct the film, and directing a remake is not something Bousman took lightly. He had received offers for others and was at one point even attached to direct a remake of David Cronenberg's Scanners, but left that project when Cronenberg expressed displeasure at the idea of it. Receiving the blessing of the original director was very important to Bousman, and with Lloyd and Charles Kaufman granting theirs, Bousman moved forward with Mother's Day.
At one point, Franck Khalfoun (who himself directed the recent Maniac remake) was on board to write the screenplay, but part of the reason why Mother's Day came together so quickly may be the fact that the script they ended up using was not originally developed to be Mother's Day at all, it was an existing script that screenwriter Scott Milam had written years earlier under the title Wichita.
Based on a hauntingly horrific true crime that happened in Wichita, Kansas, Milam's Wichita was on the 2006 Black List, a survey of the year's most well liked unproduced screenplays. Dimension Films bought the script and hired Bousman to direct it right after Saw II was a hit at the box office. The intention was for Bousman to move on to directing Wichita right after he finished up on Saw III. But then Bousman's next film after Saw III was Saw IV. Years passed, the movie never went into production at Dimension...
When you take a look at the Wichita script, it's not hard to see why it was never filmed. A movie studio would have to be insane to buy it in the first place; the violence within its pages was way too graphically sexually oriented to ever reach theatre screens.
So with Wichita dead at Dimension, Bousman brought the script over to Mother's Day, and Milam rewrote it to fit its new identity.
Bousman and Milam's Wichita/Mother's Day hybrid reimagines brothers Ike and Addley as real world-style criminals (and gives them the last name Koffin) who have been on a violent bank robbing spree in the area of Kansas and neighboring states. Their latest bank robbery has gone very wrong, their partner double crossed them and ran off with the money, their younger brother Johnny was wounded in a shootout with police.
As the brothers speed away from the scene with the screaming, bleeding, gut shot Johnny in the backseat, it's very Reservoir Dogs.
The brothers need to get Johnny to a safe house - the house they grew up in. Their Mother's house. They get to the house, enter, get Johnny on the couch... and that's when they realize the decor is entirely different than they're used to. This isn't their Mother's house anymore. Mother Koffin lost it in a foreclosure and realtor Beth Sohapi, looking to move out of the city and into the suburbs with her husband Daniel after the loss of their young son in a car accident, nabbed the property before it went up for auction. The Koffin brothers haven't talked to their mother for a while, the Sohapis moved in two months ago.
The moment the Koffin brothers enter the house and dump Johnny on the couch makes me cringe for the house. It all looks so neat and fresh, and recently renovated. You can see that there was a lot of care, thought and planning going into the remodeling of the house. After that so many things are done to the place... it's just the beginning. The characters were not the only ones to suffer. Since the house is what brings all of those people together in that situation, it's like they had to make it pay somehow, and they truly did.
Ike, Addley, and Johnny have arrived at the house right in the middle of Daniel's birthday party, which is being celebrated in the basement rec room of the home. Beth and Daniel's guests include a young medical professional named George, his single mother girlfriend Melissa, married couple Treshawn and Gina, engaged couple Dave and Annette, and Daniel's co-worker Julie. The Koffins have inadvertently found themselves with nine hostages.
There's a lot of tension and anxiety coming from Beth even before the Koffins break in. At that point we don't really know why, and it could even go unnoticed when you're watching the movie for the first time, but after other viewings, it all makes sense.
Melissa and George are the sweetest. They're the couple I feel sorry for the most every time I watch the movie. It feels like they were very into their new little family of three. Trey and Gina seemed to have a nice relationship, too.
Most of the group is forced to stay in the basement while George is made to care for Johnny, a job which he knows is hopeless. The Koffins manage to get in contact with their mother and their sister Lydia, who now live in a motor home, and the motor home soon arrives at the house. Mother Koffin wades into the party-turned-hostage-situation and takes control.
The way the brothers fear the mother and make such a big deal about her arriving is really cool. And her presence is grand enough as soon as we first see her that it's justified right away.
The family has a way to escape the country, but to do so they must pay a man named Gabriel ten thousand dollars... money which they don't have. Items of value are collected from their hostages, ATM cards and pin numbers taken so Ike can drive Beth around town and make her empty out accounts. There's also the question of where the money the brothers have been mailing home to their mother has been ending up for the past two months. There should be a total of around one thousand dollars, but Beth and Daniel claim they haven't gotten any money in the mail. Are they lying and hiding it somewhere in the house?
When I watched the movie for the first time, I thought that there was no way they'd keep and hide the money through everything that was happening.
That was a surprising element of the movie for me, too.
As the night progresses and a storm blows in, with the news warning of tornados, more secrets the hostages are holding from each other are brought to the surface. Tensions boil over. Not only are the criminals a threat to them, some of the hostages are a threat to each other as well. To keep their captors happy, some are willing to turn against their friends.
Beth doesn't have it any easier while she's out and about in town with Ike. She repeatedly makes attempts to escape or tell people what's happening, and every attempt goes terribly wrong.
I feel really bad for the policeman they encounter. I liked how law enforcement in this movie was somewhat efficient. Sending the cop to where the Koffins used to live was very smart, even though it never went anywhere. I still think that Daniel could have done what the policeman asked him to if he was in danger, the Koffins wouldn't have been able to see it.
Daniel chose to handle the situation in a way that was definitely way too compliant in my opinion. Not giving the cop an "I'm a hostage" signal was the least of it, he went to annoying lengths to keep the Koffins satisfied.
Over the course of the film, we learn more about the Koffin family dynamic as well. Mother has raised her children in crime, giving them strict rules to follow, rules which her sons haven't stuck to and that's why they're in this situation now. She made herself their whole world, keeping them under her wing and away from outside influences. They were home schooled, they weren't taken to doctors, and they were warned that if they misbehaved, they'd be punished by a creature named Queenie who lives in the woods behind the house.
A particular sequence brings the possibility to mind that Mother might have even stolen her kids from maternity wards when they were babies rather than having given birth to them. They don't necessarily look like siblings... But maybe the movie is toying with you, like its villains toy with their victims.
It seems like mother either was unable to have kids of her own, or that she did and lost them in some horrible way. But she still wants to be a mom, so she has a less convenient (thank goodness) way to do so.
The Koffins care for each other deeply and have a twisted sense of honor, but the people under their control are just their playthings.
Lydia didn't seem to care very much for Addley. He's the only one that she doesn't like. Makes me wonder if he abused her somehow. If I had to bet, I'd say yes.
They punish the unruly with torturous acts involving fire and boiling water. When Johnny expresses regret that he may die before he loses virginity, Annette is dressed up and forced to put on a show for him. Hostages are made to fight each other. Two girls are given a knife and told the one who kills the other will be allowed to go free. Questioning Daniel about the missing money, Mother burns pictures of his dead son in front of him.
It's a given that the family is going to kill all of these people when they've gotten what they need to escape. In the end, their victims will either have to turn the tables or suffer a terrible fate.
I feel like the hostages down in the basement had a lot of time to fight back. But this wasn't a tight group of friends at all, it almost seems like some of them couldn't wait to jump some of the other's throat. After Ike leaves with Beth, they know that Addley is the only guy there, and they can hear anyone coming from the stairs. They outnumber the Koffins and they have things that can be used as weapons right there. So... instead of just waiting around and turning on each other, they could have stopped at least some of it from happening.
When they finally decide to do something, they let Trey get the gun when he's clearly in no condition to do so. That's something that always gets to me.
Also... how much plastic wrap did the Sohapis have??
The film is packed with sick and disturbing scenarios, many of which are lifted straight from Milam's Wichita script, although thankfully the disgusting sexual acts did not make the transition.
There are a lot of terrible things done to the characters. Julie has it really bad... gets her face smashed on the stairs, then is almost forced to have sex with Johnny before mother decides she's not good enough, then gets part of her head burned badly. Mother's opinions on cheating were very strong.
The part with the ATM girls is truly awful as well.
In fact, there may be too many scenarios and horrible situations playing out here, as it makes the movie feel to me like it just goes on and on.
The length of the film reinforces that notion. It runs 112 minutes, way too long for this sort of film. Bousman whittled it down from a 4 hour cut, but any longer than it ended up being and it would be completely intolerable. For my taste, something closer to 90 minutes would've been even better. As it is, my attention starts to wander and I just want the movie to get it over with already.
It doesn't feel too long for me. I am curious about what the 4 hours version would be like, but that's way too long. I like the pace, directing and the score by Bobby Johnston.
Bousman did assemble a great cast to have tormented during the film's bloated running time. In the lead role of Beth, he cast Jaime King of the My Bloody Valentine remake, and she can play terror excellently. Frank Grillo was on the edge of a career breakthrough when he was cast as Daniel Sohapi (the Native American last name meant a lot more in the Wichita script), since making this movie he's had roles in the likes of Warrior, The Grey, and even played Brock Rumlow/Crossbones in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There's Lyriq Bent from the Saw films, Kandyse McClure from the Children of the Corn remake and the Carrie TV movie, Tony Nappo of Saw sequels and Land of the Dead, Briana Evigan from Burning Bright, the House on Sorority Row remake, and Bousman's episode of Fear Itself, X-Men's Iceman Shawn Ashmore, and Alexa Vega (Spy Kids, Repo! The Genetic Opera) and A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2) show up along the way.
Jaime King always looks so different from movie to movie. She looks bad in this one, especially compared to how she looked in the "past" scenes of the My Bloody Valentine remake. It's like she really wants to look right for the part, or maybe it's just a coincidence. But it's only fair that Beth would look kind of bad after everything she was going through. Briana Evigan and Shawn Ashmore are really good in this, too. Well... they're all pretty great, really. I can't think of anything bad to say about any of them.
The Koffins were also perfectly cast for their roles, with Patrick Flueger a commanding presence as Ike, Warren Kole a wild card as Addley (and though Addley was the disco fan in the 1980 Mother's Day, this Addley hates disco), Matt O'Leary is... mostly in a whole lot of pain as Johnny, and Deborah Ann Woll as the intriguingly introverted Lydia. If the victims could reach any of the Koffins, appeal to them to do the right thing, it would be her.
Lydia is so pretty, and it's very unfair how mother makes sure not to let guys get interested in her. It doesn't keep her from being interested in guys though, since she takes to George very easily, and fast. All of the Koffins are monsters, it's hard to say who's worse. I'd probably say Addley, but Johnny is such a whiny little momma's boy that I might pick him after all. All of the actors do a great job, the cast is one of my favorite aspects of the movie, if not my favorite.
Rebecca De Mornay delivers a fantastic performance as Mother Koffin. She handles everything with a chilling calm, she's always quick to smile but there's a fierceness right under the surface. She makes it very clear that she is willing to do anything to keep her family safe and together, and she's very capable of doing whatever those things may be, no matter how wrong or violent.
The cold smile and creepy look in her eyes is something not many actresses would be able to give in a performance. She's perfect for the role and there's this particular "absent" feeling I get from her not only in this movie but also in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. It's like she's there but not really there, like she's deep in thoughts, busy planning her next evil move.
There are callbacks to the original film throughout Mother's Day 2010. A nod to the disco/punk arguments, the Queenie reference, the line "You've made your mother very proud", the use of Drano and a television in ways they're not meant to be used. Beyond those and the simple fact that there's a mother with sons named Ike and Addley who do terrible things, the two Mother's Day movies are very different beasts. As you would expect, given the roots of the screenplay.
Other than those small things here and there, it's simply impossible to make fair comparisons between the two of them. It's like night and day in every single aspect. One thing I like better in the original is how the mother never seems to pretend to be something she's not, around the sons. She's completely nuts and knows that her sons are exactly the same. Now, in the remake, the mother tries to look like something she's not... a good mom who wants what's best for her kids. Trying to make Annette feel like she's a better mom than Annette's is, trying to be nice and polite to the hostages. Also, every time she reprimands her kids, especially Addley, sounding so disappointed at him, it makes me wonder, doesn't she know he's like that because of her awful "parenting"? She expects them to be "decent" when everything she's done is competely wrong and despicable from the get-go? So, yeah... acting and looking like this poised, classy woman doesn't fool anyone. Mother in the original didn't exactly play her kids, and mother in the remake plays them as much as she can, making sure they won't ever be interested in anything outside their twisted little world.
I commend the remake for doing its own thing and not just trying to be a modern day version of the very unique movie Charles Kaufman made, however I do find it quite odd that the producers would go through the trouble of purchasing the remake rights just to take an existing script and retrofit it into Mother's Day rather than developing something for it from the ground up. But, that was their prerogative.
The original would be impossible to remake. They could retell the story, but it'd never be able to capture its extremely unparalleled vibe and atmosphere.
Mother's Day 2010, while I feel it's overly long, is a fine film in its own right and can't really be compared to Mother's Day 1980, so when it comes down to choosing which one you prefer, the deciding factor is the style and tone. 2010 is a straightforward, dark, serious crime tale. 1980 is goofy and insane. Me, I go with goofy and insane, 2010 is not a movie I feel the need to watch repeatedly, while sporadic viewings of 1980 will always be had.
The original is just so unique, but I watch the remake more often and like it better. I'm not always in the mood for goofy and sleazy. I prefer the way more serious tone of the remake, even though some of it is way too brutal. But it's definitely the type of movie I watch the most between the two.