M.O.M. (MOTHERS OF MONSTERS), directed by Tucia Lyman, is a film about a bad kid. Is he bad? Just a little bad? A troubled teen? Or is he a psychopath?
His mother is worried about him. He is already on four medications and his bedroom is stockpiled with hobbies and habits that are disturbingly weird like sewing up frogs and collecting them in jars, supposedly for a school project, but he kept them as ‘souvenirs.’ Who keeps dead frogs as a souvenir? He’s not 8 years old; he’s in his late teens. The mom is worried about him, so she starts a personal vlog where she talks about her fears. It evolves into a sort of How-To Video — how to determine if your son is a psychopath. For the other moms out there, she calls them “Mothers of Monsters.”
But the mom, played by Melinda Page Hamilton, is weird too. Is she paranoid or intuitive? She suspects her son is up to something, which is why she invades her son’s space every day when he is off at school, searching his room for clues. She’s so worried that he might do something bad like shoot up the school that she buys spy cameras and installs them in the house so that she can ‘watch’ him. There’s no father about and there really needs to be one. Or another strong person needs to be in the house because the boy starts to physically abuse his mother when he is not openly insulting her, “You’re not good enough to be a cool Mom,” which made me laugh for a second because he thought telling his mom that she wasn’t cool would hurt her feelings. Who wants to be a cool mom? I’d rather be a dorky mom.
But it does hurt her feelings. We see her eyes and she’s hurt straight to the core. I suppose it’s because it means that her son is saying he doesn’t like her. Her son dislikes her. Her son hates her. Her son hates her fucking guts. Is there anything worse than your own child hating you? But there’s a moment where he touches her shoulder and you think — this is just a depressed teen who loves his single mom — but is struggling with ways to express it. Perhaps he’s normal. Just another boy who suffers from depression and teenage angst. Certainly, he’s not evil, not a budding psychopath.
But she was right. She finds gun magazines and a diagram of the school where he draws himself inside — what? That’s creepy. This means her son is about to become a school shooter, so she has to stop him before it’s too late. Who else can? “The wolf is going to be eaten by the wolf,” She says to the camera. This statement, if you really think about it, is really weird. This whole family is odd! You’d think the Mom would be crying, but she seems to be looking forward to a showdown with her son. What kind of mother and son relationship is this?
M.O.M. (MOTHERS OF MONSTERS) has similar themes to We Need To Talk About Kevin in that the mother and the son engage in a lifelong game of wills. It’s a battle of like minds. But, unlike We Need To Talk About Kevin, this is a low-budget found-footage version of the familiar tale. We see the story unfold through laptop cameras in the beginning, but the perspective expands when Mom installs secret cameras around the house so she can spy on him. This was a really neat way to explain the extra cameras in the house.
But her son is smart. And that’s what is so scary. Like The Bad Seed, a story about a mother who realized that her daughter is a sociopath and decides to kill her to protect others from harm. But The Bad Seed didn’t end well for the mother because the daughter, well, she got away with things. The mom died before she was able to tell people the true nature of her daughter. In M.O.M. (MOTHERS OF MONSTERS), there is one chance to stop her son from destruction. The question is will she be able to make the choice in time?
M.O.M. (MOTHERS OF MONSTERS) is an interesting story about a mother of a psychopath for the moms out there who suspect that their child is a monster. It plays on the secret fears that each parent has when their child does something wrong and it is in that exploration of fears that the story stands tall.
M.O.M. (MOTHERS OF MONSTERS) will open in Los Angeles for a weeklong run at the Arena Cinelounge on Friday the 13th of March, before the film premieres on Cable and Digital VOD.
Los Angeles March 13 Release:
Arena Cinelounge Sunset
6464 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028