Over the weekend I watched two brilliant but very dark films. First, in keeping with the season, was MOTHER'S DAY, with Rebecca DeMornay (who still looks good in her late 40's) as the loving mom of a family of psychotic killers. This movie started off a bit slow but built up awfully quick, and ended in a horrifying bloodbath! Without giving away too much, three brothers have robbed a bank and made their getaway, but one is shot and is in critical condition. With their double-crossing partner escaping with the money, the Koffin brothers - Ike, Johnny, and Addley - flee to mom's house for shelter. Except it's not Mom's house anymore. She has lost it in foreclosure, and a yuppie couple has moved in and taken possession in the last six months. It just so happens that they are having a housewarming party with three other couples this evening, partying and drinking down in the basement, even as a very nasty, massive thunderstorm comes bearing down on their community. But it's a storm of a different sort when the Koffin brothers arrive and find their mom not in residence! The yuppie couples are abused and terrified by the psychotic criminals - until Mama Koffin arrives to set everything straight. She quickly explains that her boys are nice enough when they aren't frightened! But then she finds out the boys have been sending money to her old address for several months - even though the homeowners say they never got it. Mama doesn't like being lied to!
Brutal, dark, and relentlessly suspenseful, this was a powerful and disturbing film. DeMornay was brilliant and the supporting cast was too. If nothing else, the entire movie is worth watching for the "ATM scene." No spoilers, but it is truly one of the most brutal scenes I have ever seen in any movie.
The next night I hit up my local Redbox and watched THE DIVIDE. This was a darkly brilliant horror-drama that was literally difficult to watch at times. In the opening scene, a nuclear warhead strikes New York city. Panicked residents of a high rise apartment stampede down the stairs, and 8 of them get into the basement before the building super closes and battens down the solid metal door. Turns out Mickey, the super, is a survivalist nut who has a large supply of food and water stored away. With the building mostly collapsed on top of them, and imminent starvation not an immediate danger, boredom, fear, exhaustion, and radiation poisoning take their toll. This movie reminded me a lot of BLINDNESS - a grim portrait of how quickly the veneer of civilization scrapes off when we are faced with very real horror. There is a subplot where a group of ominous figures in radiation suits cut through the door, but they are no rescuers and honestly added little to the plot. The real drama is the rapidly dwindling number of survivors in the basement, and the horrors they come to inflict on each other as supplies dwindle, tempers mount, and minds fray.
I can't honestly say I enjoyed this movie, but I will say that I could not look away - even when I wanted to. A powerful and disturbing film.