Horror Film Director


Posted on February 20th, by Darren Lynn Bousman in blog, Mother's Day. 18 comments

Mothers Day has been one of the greatest, and toughest challenges as a filmmaker. When I directed SAW 2, Mark Burg, one of the film’s producers, warned me about the amount of characters I had in the script. “It’s gonna be a nightmare to keep track of them all!” I laughed it off, shot the movie, and cried during editing – because he was right. There were a lot of characters – and at times, became a nightmare in post.

When the script came in for Mothers Day, the film’s producer Richard Saperstein pointed out that there were a lot of characters in the script. Like SAW 2, I laughed it off, and said I can handle it. Now, here I am in post, again crying… Not because it’s hard to keep track of everyone, but because every single person in this movie is AMAZING and I don’t want to cut one frame of their performances… They gave me GOLD – and GOLD shall I deliver. But, alas, part of the post process is cutting down scenes, performances, and story to fit in cohesive, dramatic fashion… AND NOT BE 6 hours long…

Every scene is my favorite scene, every character is my favorite character, so having to part with even ONE frame is like watching my dog Chance being slapped in the face… It’s painful and heartbreaking. That being said… It’s a champagne problem and the tighter this movie gets, the better it becomes….

I am sitting in the edit room now – watching the latest cut, and I feel like a proud father. It’s been an extremely difficult post process. In every movie I have done, there have been weak actors, weak scenes – so when I come in the edit room – it’s a simple choice – CUT THIS, CUT THAT. But with Mothers Day – every scene seems to work, every actor brings their A game…

What strikes me about Mothers Day is how gut wrenching and dramatically unrelenting it is – this ISN’T really a horror film as much a thriller – but damn it’s INTENSE… In SAW the violence and gore was the main character after Jigsaw… In REPO! the music was the main character after the Repo Man. In Mothers Day, the CHARACTERS are the main characters. It’s exciting to me as a filmmaker to finally be able to showcase the story, and the script, and let the gore take a back seat. That being said – Mothers Day is a violent movie, but it contains the type of violence that lives in the background, not fights for attention in foreground. Mothers Day is the type of film that punches you in the gut, due in large part by the amazing performances given from the cast.

Rebecca De Mornay has created an iconic villainess that has more depth, more dimension than anything we have seen in recent movies of this genre. Forget what you saw in THE HANDS THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE – that was Disney compared to this! She is the REAL DEAL – terrifying and yet wildly compelling.

We currently have not screened the movie to ANY distributor, as the whole movie was independently financed. Being independently financed gives us the luxury of taking our time and only showing studios our perfected edit. Our initial goal was to fast track the post process and come out Mother’s Day 2010. But, as shooting began MAJOR movies started staking claim to that date and the weeks surrounding it. IRON MAN 2, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, ROBIN HOOD, SHREK 4, blah, blah, blah…

It is my opinion that MOTHER’S DAY is better than just the ‘gimmick’ of the title. We could come out in the month(s) following Mother’s Day and be fine… The movie will work whenever it’s released. As one of out producers said “Mother’s Day could come on Labor Day this year… or on Halloween…. The story and character are the stars – not the title!”

Now that we all have a cut that we like – the hard part begins – and we start screening the movie to various people and focus groups… This is always a bitch for a director – or the creative force – as you pour your heart and soul into something, and then throw it out to a group of people who will watch the movie once, and tell you what’s wrong with it. The hardest part of these screenings is knowing the movie is in such a rough state – no visual effects, no score, no sound design, no color correction – but I guess that’s part of the whole process, so bring it on…

With each movie I work on – I learn more about the craft… I consider myself lucky to have had such a strong script – and amazing actors…

I think fans of the original Charles Kaufman film will find a lot to like in this version. Yes, it’s completely different, but at its core – it’s the same perverse story of Mother and her kids.

A lot of people have been asking about when to expect a trailer… Hopefully sooner as opposed to later – but again, this is something that happens AFTER a distributor screens the movie and buys it. We are still  a couple of weeks away from bringing our baby into the studios, and showing it to the buyers.

In my opinion, Mothers Day is the most intense movie I have worked on… Not intense due to senseless violence, exaggerated gore, or flashy editing – this is intensity brought on by the amazing ensemble cast –  the story, and the moments…

Dear God – am I actually growing up as a filmmaker?!?


18 thoughts on “A MOTHERS DAY update

  1. Huge fan Darren, absolutely LOVED Repo! and Universal can go screw themselves with Repo Men; idiots.

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing Mothers Day. If you need anyone in that focus group, yell at me. I’d love to give you my feedback =)

  2. I just re-watched the original film and am delighted to find it still holds up in this day and age.

    However, I found myself wanting more dialogue with Ike, Addley, and Mother.

    So I’m very much looking forward to seeing the remake!

  3. Pingback: New still from Mother’s Day remake | KillerFilm

  4. yup i like to think i had a lot to do with the greatness of it all, but at least i had something to do with it ! Can’t wait to see the final cut Darren.

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  6. I thought that choosing De Mornay was an excellent choice and after reading your update, I can hardly wait to see her and the rest of the cast in action!

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  10. I don’t think any distributor will want this film, and we wont see it in theaters anytime soon. This flick will go straight to DVD.

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