Brian Taylor (director)
09 March 2018 (released)
07 March 2018
An ordinary suburb in the US is waking up to another normal day of work and school. Parents Brent and Kendall Ryan (Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair) are couple in a rut with he in a boring job and a housewife looking to get back into work. Their children Carly and Joshua (Anne Winters and Zackery Arthur) are going through typical teenage life of gadgets and in Carly’s case boyfriend that dad doesn’t like. The family is semi-dysfunctional in an almost Stepford area.
However, on this day a static force from an unknown origin suddenly hits the town which has the effect of turning parents on their own children but nobody else’s. This leads to appalling acts of violence and menace - new dads looking at their new-borns, helpless in their cots - as the town descends into a bloody anarchy.
Cage and Blair are affected a little late in the day and proceed to try and hunt down their children and ripping through whatever gets in their way. They end up at the family home and for the final act of the film they stalk each other around the house. Things take a slight twist when Cage’s parents turn up, sticking to the logic of the film!
Tasteless as it is, Mom and Dad does start of well showing the dislocation between parents and their kids. The adults are generally bored and clueless while their offspring are making all the headway grasping new technology - social media messages flash up on screen - and generally have a better time of it; could the parents be jealous?
Whether that is actually enough to sow the seeds of their destruction is another matter and you have to take a leap. As a comment on the pervasiveness of social media its ok and does touch on the decimation of the American middle class and its aspirations after the financial crisis, which Cage alludes to after he’s wrecked his man cave.
Cage has been given a licence to chew the scenery and he’s gone for it 110%, Blair too has her moments but is rather more subdued keeping a lid on things.
The last act gets bogged down with the family chasing each other around the house with ever more unlikely turn-ups which will have people questioning; what does it actually take to kill someone?
Brian Taylor (Crank, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) as writer/director has employed all manner of tricks and gimmicks to get his way through. From the 70’s inspired split-screen timeless song at the beginning to the camera going all over the place. It’s all terribly contrived and arch, thus failing to get over the sheer lunacy of the situation. The soundtrack cracks and fizzes and sort of plays with the viewer in a very clinical manner.
Subtlety is not anywhere to be seen in Mom and Dad and while it is clearly attempting set out to be a black comedy, crucially, it’s not that funny. But there is a perverse enjoyment watching the whole tasteless thing rollercoaster along.