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There’s nothing like that warm, nurturing hearth of home…or is there?
After its festival run, Mom and Dad is about to hit the screen for a short theatrical run to coincide with it launching on various VOD platforms before the DVD/BD release next month. It is simply a filthy and frenetic ride through the underbelly of suburbia as it essentially takes us onto the Fury Road…if it had a carpool lane anchored by a couple of gloriously unhinged performances.
It’s just another day in suburbia, or so it seems as Brent and Kendall Ryan (Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair) set off on yet another day of their mind numbing existences in suburbia with their two kids (Anne Winters and Zackary Arthur) who more or less have free reign over both of their lives. However today is different, people are acting strange…homicidally so and a hysteria has taken grips over the entire town, where every parent is overcoming with the murderous rage to the unthinkable; kill their own children. No one knows why this happened, but there’s only one thing left for every kid in town to do…survive!
From the mind of writer/director Brian Taylor, one half of the team that gave us Crank; Mom and Dad is a deliriously violent ride through the ether of a life that even the most well grounded and normal among struggle with as banal turning it into a mayhem filled spree that while never having any genuine dread plays like an over the top roller coaster where you just can’t stop screaming. This is easily one of the best ‘fun scared’ types of films in recent memory.
Applying an almost 1970’s pastiche to the entire affair, it leans into its fairly trashy nature with skill and a rather delicious sense of irony. Similarly to what happened in the Crank films, Taylor as a story teller allows us to empathize with characters and situations without having to be superbly invested in them as he fills the frame with layers of trashy depth. It’s exploitation without being exploitive and as he turns his eye towards the life of track housing and watching the same shows on TV every night, it feels like we could be watching a George A Romero movie, just a lot more conscience of how trashy the 21st century existence has become. He finds the horror in the banality of modern suburbia…if only to knowingly take the piss out of it since there are far too many out there who would take these entire proceedings far too seriously. Its social satire at its harshest and most gruesome because even though most well adjust people love their children, even they occasionally want to strangle them to death and this film captures that so well.
Nicolas Cage morphs from the defeated middle aged father who hates his job and is grappling with the concept that he’s not all that fond of his kids and wife either with aplomb as there is nothing like Crazy Cage, especially when he flips that switch and becomes an absolute scenery chewing maniac. Cage commands the screen, especially when carrying a power saw saying the words “It saws…all”. Everyone involved is just having a delirious amount of fun and that holds true for Selma Blair as she descends from loving yet neglected mother to woman gladly trying to gas her children out of their own basement. The kids Anne Winters and Zackary Arthur are good enough and there’s a fun cameo from Lance Henriksen but this film works as well as it does because the entire ensemble knows that they are doing something that is just bat shit crazy, and they wisely embrace that.
The picture and sound on the Blu-Ray are top notch but sadly there are no special features on this release.
To sum it up, this is basically ‘Country Club Grindhouse’ and Mom And Dad makes for one torrid and delicious ride that we’d never really expect but can all gleefully embrace.