MOM AND DAD (2018)


Written & Directed By: Brian Taylor
Cinematography By: Daniel Pearl
Editor: Rose Corr & Fernando Villena 

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Zackary Arthur, Lance Henriksen, Joseph D. Reitman, Robert Cunningham, Olivia Crocicchia 

There’s definitely something terrible going on in the peaceful suburban community, as, one after the other, otherwise loving and caring parents mysteriously turn into ravenous carriers of an unfathomable pandemic that targets their offspring. Suddenly, every son and daughter–not only in the neighbourhood but also in the entire regionhave to run for their lives, as the rage-filled murderous intent is simply as unstoppable as it is inexplicable. Of course, Brent and Kendall’s teenage children are no exception, and before long, the simmering but usual familial tensions will take a completely different meaning. Kids, stop hiding. Mum and Dad love you so much.

The question, can Nicolas Cage really go over the top in a film that is already that way? Which seems ok in bigger budgeted films. As they have a budget enough to House it. Here he seems to more downplay it or at least give a more grounded reason for it. As this seems more a natural fit for him. Though still shocking that he is in it. In these indie films they can’t handle or seem to co trip full of crazy Cage. Here he is more in his element. I mean he destroys a pool table while singing the homey pokey

The film is over directed and more given to excess and seems to take a kind of joy in more exploitive pursuits and nothing is ever subtle. Which is what you would expect from Witer-Director Brian Taylor one half of the writing/directing team that brought us the CRANK movies.

The opening titles make the film seem like a classic exploitation from the 1970’s. Which is jarring from the rest of the film. As it seems to become nihilistic and offer no answers. As the over the top excess takes place. As we watch parents kill their children but only seem to want to attack their own. It even had a Dr. Oz from television cameo.

The film keeps an over the top ambition. As the rules set up make no sense and stay outlandish. As the film pretty much showcases middle age rage. Taking out frustrations that have come to the surface. As this seems more like a parental revenge film for dark times a kind of fantasy. That stays ambivalent to the end.

As the movie goes along it begins to slow down and is not quite as over the top. As expected. As it stays centered to a degree.

While The film offers up a shocking scenario of killing children and while the film goes there it doesn’t really linger on the violence or gore, but suggests the violence and the aftermath of it. Turning the camera away from any actual death scene just In time. So that the carnage is more hinted at and suggested rather then shown. More of a balance in the beginnings mining but becomes more grounded as it goes along.

As we are shown more flashbacks that reveal the good times and the problems the characters were having before the epidemic hits. So the film get surprisingly dramatic and truly lets the big name stars shine.

Surprisingly not an over the top performance you get. As it is expected and it seems Cage doesn’t want to become a caricature to the audience.

Though the adults eventually seem more like kids as they take joy trying to kill them almost like Wille coyote going after the road runner and always Getting outsmarted. Though their giddiness is infective. As we watch parents versus kids either way no one truly end as it becomes more about survival.

Towards the end the film raises the stakes and turns the table a bit with his urge and epidemic going across generations.

What is expected as at least Cage has a co-hort, Selma Blair just as worthy though new to these types of roles. The film has an ambiguous ending that truly leaves no answers and leaves us stupefied in the situation just like the characters. As they bring weight to their characters both feeling lost. As they both strive for their younger days when they not only felt alive but like they meant something to others. As she gave up her career and finds she can’t go back now that her kids can take care of themselves. So she feels useless, while he feels that his glory days are behind him and all he is, is more a provider only and no one in particular cares about him or how he feels.

There is also a scene we keep seeing which makes no sense at first which is the closest the film gets to sex or nudity as we keeps seeing a joyriding young man with his topless girlfriend and finally the significance is explained later in the film. As it seems there just to have another boundary broken.

The film is pure dark fun that eventually becomes a thriller with a murderous horde mode not they are not zombies thin THE CRAZIES.

It amazes me that the director of this film nor his writing partner and directing partner Mark Neveldine never got a chance to make a THE PURGE movie. As it seems like they would be naturals at it. Even as it becomes more political with each sequel but keeps having exploitive peaks and moments.

Grade: B-

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