Mom and Dad
I thought I understood what I was getting into when I sat down to watch "Mom and Dad", a 2017 horror-comedy starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair. The very simple premise of parents going insane trying to kill their kids wasn't an entirely foreign concept in the horror world. However, the moment I saw Nicolas Cage running around his house barking like a dog attempting to kill his young son I realized I was watching one of the most insane films ever put on screen. 

This family film does not pull any punches from the get-go as it shows a mother leaving her child in the car on a set of rail road tracks. This key moment in the film will make you either get ready for a smorgasbord of mayhem and violence or have you leaving your seat to do something else rather than watching this psychotic film. 

We are set to the typical family affair of a working class dad Brent Ryan (Nicolas Cage), the out of touch mother Kendall Ryan (Selma Blair), their bitchy teenage daughter Carly Ryan (Anne Winters), and their youngest son and prized possession Josh Ryan (Zackary Arthur). Also in the house is an Asian maid and her daughter.

A bout of problems spew from the screen as we see Kendall and Carly argue in the car about no longer being in touch with one another, Brent watching pornography at his job, and Carly seen with her friend buying drugs in the school bathroom. When a buzz of static on screen flashes throughout all locations, parents all over the country start attempting to kill their kids by any means necessary in a huge frenzy. 

This is where the fun begins as Carly escapes the school with her friend after a huge mob of parents break through the school gates attempting to kill their children, her current boyfriend Damon is forced to defend himself from his drunken father, Kendall watches in terror as her sister attempts to kill her baby directly after child birth, and Josh watches the maid murder her own daughter. 

Some tactics used in the film to avoid excessive gore showed off screen gore. I am not sure if this was a directorial decision or if it was to appease the MPAA. Regardless there were some shots that would have been awesome for the horror fan knowing this was a horror comedy. 

However chaotic this movie sounds, it is not until both Brent and Kendall arrive home that the true terror begins. Both a reluctant Josh and a terrified Carly hide in the basement of the house as Brent and Kendall attempt to murder them. Damon is the first one to arrive in the house and get knocked unconscious. Brent and Kendall then use a gas leak to purge them out of the basement. The children are smart and hide, and use a match underneath the door to blow up Nicolas Cage. Several psychotic altercations past in the style of a brutal version of Home Alone, and things really come to a head when Brent's parents show up for dinner; although they do not have dinner on their minds. 

Despite being an overload of quirky horror high jinks, the movie also take time to explore the characters and some relation to one another. In one scene Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair have an emotional discussion on what they aspired to be when they were young, and where they are now in their mid-life crisis. Another scene shows Kendall attempting to reconnect with her younger side by joining a group but being denied that. There is even a scene showing Brent scolding but also forgiving Josh for putting a dead animal in his car whom Josh was trying to nurture back to health.  

The one thing I will criticize the film for is a lack of fear for Carly and Josh's lives. Yes they are put in some rather harsh circumstances, but they are never really injured or hurt by Brent or Kendall enough that made me care their character was in jeopardy. Damon was the only one out of the main cast that got beat up (head slammed on floor, wire hanger through cheek) but considering he was knocked out for half of the movie I did not really care whether he died or lived. Nonetheless that minor complaint did not stop me from enjoying the film to its fullest. 

"Mom and Dad" is not your typical horror film in that it has both soul and character within it rather than just constant fear, terror, and outrage that horror films attempt to reign supreme. Pair that with insane and deranged performances from Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair and you have a unique horror gem that should be checked out by any fan of horror. 


4
Brutal Resonance

Mom and Dad

7.0
"Good"
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Director: Brian Taylor
Writer: Brian Taylor
Star actors: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters
I thought I understood what I was getting into when I sat down to watch "Mom and Dad", a 2017 horror-comedy starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair. The very simple premise of parents going insane trying to kill their kids wasn't an entirely foreign concept in the horror world. However, the moment I saw Nicolas Cage running around his house barking like a dog attempting to kill his young son I realized I was watching one of the most insane films ever put on screen. 

This family film does not pull any punches from the get-go as it shows a mother leaving her child in the car on a set of rail road tracks. This key moment in the film will make you either get ready for a smorgasbord of mayhem and violence or have you leaving your seat to do something else rather than watching this psychotic film. 

We are set to the typical family affair of a working class dad Brent Ryan (Nicolas Cage), the out of touch mother Kendall Ryan (Selma Blair), their bitchy teenage daughter Carly Ryan (Anne Winters), and their youngest son and prized possession Josh Ryan (Zackary Arthur). Also in the house is an Asian maid and her daughter.

A bout of problems spew from the screen as we see Kendall and Carly argue in the car about no longer being in touch with one another, Brent watching pornography at his job, and Carly seen with her friend buying drugs in the school bathroom. When a buzz of static on screen flashes throughout all locations, parents all over the country start attempting to kill their kids by any means necessary in a huge frenzy. 

This is where the fun begins as Carly escapes the school with her friend after a huge mob of parents break through the school gates attempting to kill their children, her current boyfriend Damon is forced to defend himself from his drunken father, Kendall watches in terror as her sister attempts to kill her baby directly after child birth, and Josh watches the maid murder her own daughter. 

Some tactics used in the film to avoid excessive gore showed off screen gore. I am not sure if this was a directorial decision or if it was to appease the MPAA. Regardless there were some shots that would have been awesome for the horror fan knowing this was a horror comedy. 

However chaotic this movie sounds, it is not until both Brent and Kendall arrive home that the true terror begins. Both a reluctant Josh and a terrified Carly hide in the basement of the house as Brent and Kendall attempt to murder them. Damon is the first one to arrive in the house and get knocked unconscious. Brent and Kendall then use a gas leak to purge them out of the basement. The children are smart and hide, and use a match underneath the door to blow up Nicolas Cage. Several psychotic altercations past in the style of a brutal version of Home Alone, and things really come to a head when Brent's parents show up for dinner; although they do not have dinner on their minds. 

Despite being an overload of quirky horror high jinks, the movie also take time to explore the characters and some relation to one another. In one scene Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair have an emotional discussion on what they aspired to be when they were young, and where they are now in their mid-life crisis. Another scene shows Kendall attempting to reconnect with her younger side by joining a group but being denied that. There is even a scene showing Brent scolding but also forgiving Josh for putting a dead animal in his car whom Josh was trying to nurture back to health.  

The one thing I will criticize the film for is a lack of fear for Carly and Josh's lives. Yes they are put in some rather harsh circumstances, but they are never really injured or hurt by Brent or Kendall enough that made me care their character was in jeopardy. Damon was the only one out of the main cast that got beat up (head slammed on floor, wire hanger through cheek) but considering he was knocked out for half of the movie I did not really care whether he died or lived. Nonetheless that minor complaint did not stop me from enjoying the film to its fullest. 

"Mom and Dad" is not your typical horror film in that it has both soul and character within it rather than just constant fear, terror, and outrage that horror films attempt to reign supreme. Pair that with insane and deranged performances from Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair and you have a unique horror gem that should be checked out by any fan of horror. 


Feb 26 2018

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

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