HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: You'll Like My Mother
HTS Overall Score:68
There’s nothing I like better than getting comfy in a big over stuffed recliner, pull out the bag of popcorn and watch a good horror movie, no matter the time of year. While I have an affinity for 80’s horror above all (I find I gravitate a lot towards the 80s), the 1970s also has quite a library of thrillers and fright fests to pull from as well. It’s literally been 25+ years since I’ve seen “You’ll Like my Mother”, but remember that as child of only 8 or 9 years old that it terrified me. Especially the famous scissors scene at the very end. Fast forward several decades and I find that the movie is much less horrific and seems a bit bland in its delivery, but still acts as a solid thriller for those who aren’t so attached to the R rated horror genre. Full of suspense and overly dramatized foreshadowing, “You’ll Like my Mother” feels more like a TV movie given the silver screen treatment, but still works in a lot of ways for those of us who are still nostalgic.
Francesca Kinsolving (Patty Duke) is a grieving widow who just had to put her newlywed Army husband in the ground. Intent upon meeting his loving mother, Francesca travels three days across the country to snowy Minnesota to his home town and surprises mother dearest. However, mother dearest (played by famed actress Rosemary Murphy) doesn’t exactly seem as kind and loving as Francesca’s husband had described. Cold and icy, she deflects the young widows ever attempt at bonding, even going so far as blaming her for her son’s death. In tears and ready to leave, the beleaguered girl is forced to stay in the family estate for the next several days until a passing blizzard allows safe passage.
However, things aren’t exactly as they seem and soon Francesca starts to suspect the motives and identity of mommy dearest. Especially when she discovers the fact that her husband’s cousin, Kenny, was a convicted murder and rapist who had savagely assaulted a girl years ago. Soon the pieces start to come together and Francesca is even more intent on leaving the estate. That is, is she is allowed to leave after her big discovery is uncovered.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70137[/img]“You’ll Like my Mother” is a perfectly capable, if a bit over dramatic little thriller that dips its toe ever so lightly into the horror genre. The story is a bit clichéd, and the visualizations are a bit pedestrian, but the mood is intensely claustrophobic and oppressive at times (in that good old fashioned creepy way). The actors are the heart and soul of the presentation and they do so with incredibly nuanced performances. Patty Duke is excellent as the very pregnant widow, and her portrayal of the frightened girl is never under any doubt. The real stars here are veteran Rosemary Murphy and Sian Allen (who actually was nominated for a golden glove award for her performance in the movie). Murphy is deliciously creepy as the aging mastermind of the whole plot and her she exudes that sort of domineering control that makes her both pitiable and terrifying at the same time. Sian Allen is a bit less verbal, but no less impeccable in her acting. Having to portray herself as a mute and use completely visual ways of making herself understood is spot on and her torn conscience is visible to all.
The first half of the film seems to be a creepy “Misery” type horror film, with Francesca’s mother in law seemingly scheming to get rid of the unwanted guest. Those who pay attention in the slightest realize early on that not everything is as it seems, but it’s not till the second half where the audience is clued in to the real reason that she wants Francesca gone. Then her character takes on a whole different aspect as you almost pity her for the trap that she’s set herself in. Mommy dearest is trapped between a rock and a hard place. Protecting the one thing that is destroying her and actually doing her best to protect Francesca herself. Maybe she’s not the most sympathetic character in the world, but it adds a distinct aspect to her character that allows her to be pitied and reviled at the same time.
Rated PG. Parental Guidance Recommended.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70145[/img]It looks like Scream Factory was able to get a good master from Universal Studios, as the 1.85:1 AVC encoded image looks VERY pleasing. Much like most 70’s film, the picture is covered in a thick but even coat of grain, and the contrast levels give us solid color replication. The outside Minnesota landscape is covered in brilliant white snow, and the 70’s era dark greens and red/orange colors pop off the screen. Fine detail is usually exceptional, but there are several moments in the film where things look a bit hazy (which seems to be a stylistic choice, as the camera loses focus while Francesca is losing her own focus). Blacks look deep and inky, with only a few instances of overt black crush and a bit of aliasing around a few faces. While “You’ll Like my Mother” is not a stellar looking film, it is very natural looking and the best I’ve ever seen the movie look by a VERY wide margin.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70153[/img]The only audio track on the disc is the original 2.0 Mono track in DTS-HD MA lossless, and it sounds more than adequate for the job. The track pushes the highs a bit on the harsh side, with a simple track relying mainly on dialog. There’s a few spots in the opening 15 minutes where I heard some distortion at the end of a few words and a few crackles and pops in the bus, however it cleans up very nicely as the movie trudges along. Being a mono track there’s not a lot of ambience and the dialog sometimes sounds a bit boxy, but it works being that the entire runtime of the movie we’re cooped up inside an old house in a claustrophobic setting. It’s simple, but certainly an effective track.
• Photo Gallery
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Interviews with actors Richard Thomas and Sian Barbara Allen
“You’ll Like my Mother” is a taught little thriller that, while good, shows a bit of wear around the edges in its delivery. The plot is simplistic and well done, but it’s been done to death over the years and the over use of foreshadowing and letting the audience in on the little secret is a bit ham fisted at times. A flawed pleasure, “You’ll Like my Mother” works on a technical level mainly due to the intensity of the actors involved and the claustrophobic feel of the camera work. Scream was lucky enough to get a very nice looking master form Universal Studios and combined with minimal set of extras was able to craft a very nice Blu-ray release (with one of the better use of original poster art that I’ve seen in a while). Recommended as a solid rental.
Starring: Patty Duke, Richard Thomas, Rosemary Murphy
Directed by: Lamont Johnson
Written by: Jo Heims, Naomi A. Hintze (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA Mono
Studio: Scream Factory
Runtime: 92 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 10th 2016
Buy You'll Like My Mother On Blu-ray at Amazon
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