Mom and Dad is a touchy sell, even if the film is up front with its maniacal plot about parents killing their children and how it shoots for the moon in terms of dark comedy.
The film keeps its secret weapon close to the vest – writer/director Brian Taylor. Does that name sound familiar? Think insane cinema. No guesses? Taylor, and frequent collaborator Mark Neveldine, broke the mould with their underrated Crank series before unsuccessfully tackling a sequel to Marvel’s Ghost Rider franchise, followed by solo projects. If you’re familiar with Crank’s off-the-wall nature, Mom and Dad will be a walk in the park for you. The thriller features the same sort of morbid humour and kinetic filmmaking that put Neveldine/Taylor on the map. As a solo filmmaker, Taylor does a good job maintaining the same brand of craziness while also keeping course in a story that achieves some warped sentimentality.
Mom and Dad is a movie about feeling betrayed. Brent (Nicolas Cage) and Kendall (Selma Blair) have the ideal suburban life, but they’re more aware of time as they consider their lacklustre chances for ambition. Brent works a mundane desk job, and Kendall is reminded of her age and overqualified status when she’s rejected from new opportunities. When Kendall begins to feel a sense of disrespect from her daughter Carly (Anne Winters) and Brent realizes the level of dependability riding on his shoulders, they join a silent (and, quite frankly, coincidental) movement of fed-up, violent, and brainwashed parents.
Cage is in his element as an “unbalanced” father hunting his offspring, while Blair’s fascinating moments happen when she’s resisting the urge to kill. These key characters are wrapped up in a story that’s been conceived with inconsistent logic, but also from different ideas ranging from obscene adult fantasies to blinded urgency. This concoction piques the audience’s interest in varying ways. Movie goers will be scared by how much unpredictability is at large, laughing with the film’s fearlessness, surprised by its hidden depth, and flat-out flabbergasted by its hilariously clever third act twist.
Mom and Dad is to be enjoyed with an open mind, adrenaline, and a twisted opinion of entertainment. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie