Movie Review: MOM AND DAD (2017)

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror/thriller MOM AND DAD (2017) by writer/director Brian Taylor. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:

“A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids.” 

Obviously with a concept like that, people are going to wonder how dark things can possibly get? Honestly, they play up the bloodthirsty aspect really hard, to the point where even newborns are not safe. The shock factor is so well done that it helps propel the film along when things start to get crazy.

Even when things are rather placid, there is something about the technical factors that leads one to believe this is going to be a highly stylized piece. At first, it is little things like the sound design or the cuts back in time that tip us off to the tone. Then, when things begin to go south, the cinematography becomes incredibly kinetic, which acts as a sort of contact high for the rest of the feature. The second half works in part because it goes so big without any reservations.

That being said, there are a few times where they break up tense moments with flashbacks that flesh out the characters. While I liked what this did to humanize the cast or give more context to their relationships, these scenes did break up the forward progress. I sort of wish that they reconstructed the script a bit to integrate these moments better without breaking up the kinetic nature of the picture.

No review would be complete without taking a moment or two to comment upon the acting. In general, the performances are quite broad, which feels nicely in tune with the subject matter. Surprisingly, Selma Blair (who plays the Mom in the title) manages to add some real emotional depth to her character near the beginning that makes one wonder where her allegiances might lie when parents start offing their children. Unsurprisingly, Nicholas Cage (who plays the Dad in the title) gives a ridiculously over the top performance throughout that tips one off immediately as to what he is going to do when the carnage begins. The children in question are all fine at their roles, but they are not nearly as entertaining as their parents or their grandparents.

All in all, this is a take no prisoners, adrenaline rush of a film that delivers nicely upon its concept. While I wish the flashbacks did not break up the action, the moments did provide the capable cast some time to shine amidst the chaos. Fans of movies like The Babysitter (2017) and Crank (2006) will find this feature provides a similar contact high.

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