(Message to readers: Happy Mothers Day is a sequel to Cindy’s Birthday Party. Cindy’s Birthday Party has been previously reviewed and can be found at Cinemaslice.com.)
It’s been many years since Jonas(Martin James) vanished without a trace after attending Cindy’s(Gracie Demski) birthday. Cindy is now a teenager and has invited her friend, Samantha(Maryann Fisher), over for a party. It’s Mother’s Day and it seems like a nice gesture since Samantha has no one to celebrate with. Soon enough Mr. Gremshaw(Dan Busch), the caretaker, shows up and leads Cindy and Samantha to the basement where Cindy’s mother(Donna Madison) is ready to celebrate.
Happy Mother’s Day is a horror short written and directed by August Aguilar. The film is a sequel to Cindy’s Birthday Party, which was also directed by August. Happy Mother’s Day is a horror fest, filled with crazy characters, that has improved in many ways over its predecessor. One criticism I had with Cindy’s Birthday Party was the many unaddressed questions. Many answers are given in Happy Mother’s Day, while also maintaining enough of the mystery that good horror thrives upon. Another fantastic addition was the practical gore effects done by Ryan Smith. They boosted the short’s entertainment value to another level. Also, I have to mention Gracie Demski’s portrayal of Cindy. That blank stare and subtle eye twitch really creeped me out.
One criticism that I have with Happy Mother’s Day is that the plot is familiar. Nostalgia and reverence to earlier film is important, but ultimately too much can lead to predictability. The question mark of Cindy’s family remains, however, and because of the revelations in Happy Mother’s Day I’m excited for more. If another sequel is in the works I hope to see some interesting plot choices added to the other excellent improvements.
Overall, Happy Mother’s Day was a bloody good time. The characters were unique and interesting and the makeup effects exceptional. The story was formulaic but didn’t disrupt the film’s quality. I recommend this film to fans of 1970’s horror, particularly films with sadistic family units.
Cindy’s(Maddie Giorgio) big day has finally arrived. She is excited about her birthday and her mother(Merri Field Giorgio) has a special event planned. It’s a birthday party and the guests are starting to arrive. Jonas(Dylan Busch), one of the guests, gets out of the chauffeured limo and Cindy greets him at her front door. Jonas soon notices that no other guests are at the party. His suspicions further arise when Cindy tells him to go down to where the party is being held. Down into the basement.
Cindy’s Birthday Party, directed by August Aguilar, is a technically proficient and incredibly well acted horror short. The direction and writing are noteworthy due to the use of child actors in the film. It’s clear that Maddie Giorgio and Dylan Busch knew exactly what they were performing and that they had a full understanding of the story being told. The planning, along with some improvisation mixed in, seemed to work well as the children moved and talked very naturally in the environment. This fine acting along with an excellent buildup of tension and suspense in the plot are clear strong points in Cindy’s Birthday Party.
Some criticisms of Cindy’s Birthday Party are a lack of originality in the premise of the film and some unanswered questions which left a few holes in the plot. The celebratory atmosphere of the birthday party counteracted nicely with the ever-present creepiness of the story. Unfortunately, it also felt like a fancy dress being put on a basic “lambs being led to the slaughter” scenario. Perhaps if some questions were partly answered, like where are the birthday guest’s parents and who is the chauffeur bringing them, this may have livened things up. The mystery behind the thing in the basement, however, was fantastic and correctly was left to the imagination.
Cindy’s Birthday Party is a suspenseful and wonderfully acted horror short. It maintains the creepiness throughout and rarely relies on cheap jump scares. The plot is a tad basic which a few answered questions could have fixed, but the overall product is only slightly effected. A big recommendation to anyone who enjoys horror that slowly chills you to the bone.
Philly pride all up in this jawn this week, y’all. Philly native August Aguilar may live in Knoxville, but he still loves his home in the Northeast. In fact, it’s one of his favorite places in the world to visit… and to make films. This week, he talks to Justin about film, Philly, music, and his website EL BURRITO BLOG.
The cast is then taken over by horror film aficionado and dope emcee Johnny Zuko for a few words and a couple of great tracks.
If you don’t like this week’s guests, I’ll have to just quote PE and say that “I can’t do nuthin’ for ya, man!”