Serial Mom (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

Serial Mom (1994)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Who knows what evil lurks behind the freshly painted homes and manicured lawns of suburbia? The family of Beverly Sutphin soon find out in this campy, satire. Beverly Sutphin is the perfect, selfless suburban housewife. She takes perfect care of her home and provides the moral center and support for her family which includes: husband Eugene, a dentist; daughter Misty; and Chip, her teenaged son who is addicted to gore-films. Outwardly, her life is just hunky-dory. But the minute her family leaves, Beverly Sutphin turns into the psychopathic housewife from hell. When a teacher expresses concern over Chip's addiction to horror movies and suggests therapy, Mom runs him over with her car. She then goes on a spree killing a total of six people for such minor infractions as impoliteness, not using dental floss, and forgetting to rewind video-tapes. She is eventually arrested but refuses to plead insanity. Beverly immediately becomes the feminist poster woman. The lead role in the upcoming TV movie about her life will be played by Suzanne Somers.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Horror, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Waters
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 13, 1999
HBO Video


Kathleen Turner
as Beverly Sutphin
Sam Waterston
as Eugene Sutphin
Mink Stole
as Dottie
Traci Lords
as Carl's Date
Walt MacPherson
as Detective Gracey
John Badila
as Mr. Stubbins
Scott Wesley Morgan
as Detective Pike
Kathy Fannon
as Mrs. Sterner
Doug Robert Brown
as Mr. Sterner
Tim Caggiano
as Marvin Pickles
Jeff Mandon
as Howell Hawkins
Colgate Salsbury
as Father Boyce
Patsy Grady Abrams
as Mrs. Jenson
Richard Pilcher
as Herbie Hebden
Beau James
as Timothy Nazlerod
Kim Swann
as Lu-Ann Hodges
Patricia Hearst
as 8th Juror
Nancy Robinette
as Jury Forewoman
Peter Bucossi
as Rookie Cop
Loretto McNally
as Policewoman
Joshua L. Shoemaker
as Court TV Reporter
Rosemary Knower
as Court Groupie A
Susan Lowe
as Court Groupie B
John Calvin Doyle
as Carl's Brother
Brigid Berlin
as Mean Lady
Jordan Brown
as Police Officer
Jeffrey Pratt Gordon
as Flea Market Boy
Shelbi Clarke
as Flea Market Girl
Nat Benchley
as Macho Man
Kyf Brewer
as Dealer
Teresa R. Pete
as Baby's Mother
Zachary S. Pete
as Church Baby
Mike Offenheiser
as Joe Flowers
Mojo Gentry
as Burglar B
Joan Rivers
as Herself
Catherine Anne Hayes
as TV Serial Hag
Jennifer Finch
as Camel Lips Member
Suzi Gardner
as Camel Lips Member
Demetra Plakas
as Camel Lips Member
Donita Sparks
as Camel Lips Member
Lonnie Horsey
as Carl Pageant
Lyrica Montague
as Court Clerk
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Serial Mom

Critic Reviews for Serial Mom

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (11)

Rather mild and scattershot in its satiric marksmanship...

Full Review… | May 8, 2008
Top Critic

An uproariously funny, marvellously malicious performance from Turner.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The murders are multiple but the joke is strictly one-note.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A killingly funny spoof of crime and nonpunishment.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Too realistically gory to really be funny.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Well worth a look.

Full Review… | May 8, 2008

Audience Reviews for Serial Mom


A cheerful, seemingly perfect suburban housewife in the vein of June Cleaver is secretly a viciously vengeful killer in this delightful romp from John Waters.

Finding a nice middle ground between subversion and the dignified mainstream (with a touch of camp), this is an alternate take on some of the same territory mined by Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers that same year, though done far less seriously, and not chaotically experimental. It is blatantly a satire, and yes, the acting is that way on purpose. I guess some people just weren't in on the joke, hence why this seems to generate a lot of mixed opinions.

I'll admit this isn't the greatest movie, but it is fun. You have to be in the right frame of mind for Waters's style and shtick, but I think it works well with this type of ludicrously over the top subject matter. It's so silly and ridiculous, but that's what makes it fun. This is a woman who will murder someone just for making a fashion faux pas or insulting one of her kids, yet she maintains a facade of being the most wholesome mom ever.

The performances are great. Kathleen Turner steals the show in the lead role, and this is easily one of her best performances, if not the absolute best. She really gets the tone, character, and ideas Waters was pushing for. Though not quite as good or memorable, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake, and Matthew Lillard are all pretty decent as the killer mom's husband and kids respectfully. We also get appearance from Waters regulars like Mink Stole and Patricia Hearst, as well as cameos from Suzanne Somers and the band L7 (performing under the name Camel Lips.

All in all, this is a fairly decent piece of work. It is goofy, but if you can't understand that it is tongue in cheek by design, then I can't help you.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


My favourite John Waters movie so far! This is one of those horror movies that are so outrageous they're hilarious, or in other words a black comedy (which is slightly more scary than funny). I highly recommend this movie.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

It is funny in places, but i got a bit confused as it said at the beginning of the movie that it is a movie based on real events which i find really hard to believe, which is just as well as it was a gag by john waters who said the whole thing was made up!!
Just as well it was made up because it is very hard to believe she didnt get caught and then when she did get caught she got lit off!!
it is funny and i like kathleen turner in this movie she played the part really well but its not that fantastic i guess worth the watch though!!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

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