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Mom and Dad: A Wild Thriller That Makes Its Dark Themes Palatable

April 6, 2018

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Mom and Dad could’ve easily coasted on its Nicolas Cage/Selma Blair murdering their children plot and showcased a lot of Nic Cage overacting while any resemblance of a plot vanished around him. However, director/writer Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer) creates a violent world that allows character development, unexpected relationship therapy and a massive set-piece involving a football field melee. It was a lot better than I could’ve imagined and I don’t think it needed the Nic Cage “freaking out” moments because the plot was crazy enough.

Mom and Dad focuses on a family having a terrible night after a mysterious broadcast signal turns parents on their children. The interesting spin on the “murderous signal” is that the parents remain totally normal around everyone else and have no problem going about their day in logical and normal ways. However, once they see their kids they become rage-infested (think 28 days Later) maniacs who desperately want to kill them in any way they can. It’s like they are wearing murderous blinders towards only their children and everyone else is cool. For instance, if the broadcast hit you at the mall the only person you’d want to kill is your kid, all the other shoppers would be safe.

The majority of the movie features the plight of two kids named Carly (Anne Winters) and Josh (Zackary Arthur) who are being attacked by their parents Brent (Nicolas Cage) and Kendall (Selma Blair) in their suburban household. Before the broadcast hits, we learn they have the normal family-of-four-problems in that the teenage girl is rude to her mother, and the dad is going through a mid-life crisis (poor pool table). They are all stock problems which become moot once the parents start trying to kill their kids via asphyxiation and fire. The neat thing is a lot of their issues are surprisingly aired-out throughout the night and I really liked how the momentary insanity actually strengthens Brent and Kendall’s marriage.

Teamwork makes the marriage work.

Mom and Dad is a lot better than it has any right to be and I like how it took very dark themes and made them work in a non-exploitative way that doesn’t feel fake or tacked-on. Mom and Dad features the right amount of insane for what it is (a mildly-insane movie) and I liked that.

If you are into dark-comedy, Nic Cage yelling, and pool table destruction you will love Mom and Dad.

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