Greetings from the We Live Entertainment Underground. Today I want to talk about a new dark horror film called Mom and Dad starring Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair. Mom and Dad is about the Ryans, who are your run-of-the-mill dysfunctional family. Brent is a father going through a major midlife crisis. Kendall is a mother who is trying desperately to hang on to her youth and relate to her rebellious daughter, Carly, who is dating a boy her father does not like. The youngest of the family, Josh, seems to be caught up in this whirlwind of a family. A strange worldwide hysteria breaks out that causes parents to kill their children. Carly and Josh fight to survive against their mom and dad, who want to bring new meaning to the term “broken home”.
Mom and Dad is a refreshingly original and extremely dark horror film. It is going to make many viewers feel uncomfortable due to the subject matter. I do not consider this as a negative, because I think horror films should make us uncomfortable. Director Brian Taylor has developed a narrative that is thought provoking and entertaining. Much of the entertainment comes from the performances of Nicholas Cage as Brent and Selma Blair as Kendall. When the hysteria gets into full swing, so does Cage. His performance is humorous and scary at the same time. I didn’t think Cage could ever be out-crazied but I think Blair does it here. She had such evil looks that it brought chills down my spine. Her Kendall could go from loving to homicidal at the drop of a dime. I loved how she and Cage fed off the other’s performance.
Anne Winters plays Carly. The film primarily follows her character as this outbreak occurs. She puts in a solid performance as a girl who plays at being rebellious, but you can tell underneath the surface she is something different. Near the end of the film, Lance Henriksen shows up to help provide an interesting twist to the story.
The story, which was also written by Taylor, does not give all the answers. This was a great approach. He leaves the fear of the unknown hanging out there, creating and maintaining an atmosphere of extreme tension. Early on we are witness to a few brutal scenes of kids being killed. Later, the audience only sees the aftermath of a kill, such as a mom mopping blood off the floor or a dad carrying a bloody bat. This allows the audience’s imagination to run wild and create something more terrifying in their head than the director could put on the screen.
Mom and Dad uses music effectively. The film opens with a classic 70’s style montage backed by a whimsical yet haunting instrumental score. It is not trying to be a 70s horror film, which I greatly appreciated, but at the same time it was giving a nod to the darker films of that time. This score helps to give the film a unique identity while keeping the watcher unsettled. There are also a number of familiar vocal tracks. Thanks to this film, I will never look at “It Must Have Been Love” from Roxette in the same way again. Things get bloody in Mom and Dad but not to the extreme you might expect. Taylor proves you do not have to be overly gory to be shocking.
In a time when many filmmakers feel the need to hand-hold the audience, Mom and Dad smashes the hand with a mallet and sends you to your room without supper. I would not recommend this to every horror fan, but if you are looking for something that is dark and different then this one is for you.
Mom and Dad is currently schedule for release on January 19, 2018