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Review: MOM AND DAD (2018)

The bond between parent and child is considered one of the strongest and most pure things known to man. When it’s broken it frequently makes the headlines on a national level, people are so outraged at this breach of trust and the way things should be. So a film depicting this on a nationwide scale would be a shocking and grim watwatch,ch right? Not if it’s MOM AND DAD, the first solo film from Brian Taylor, formerly the Taylor of the Neveldine/Taylor directing team. In that case, it would be a hysterically funny slice of deep black comedy shot through with some genuine shocks and scares.

When reports of parents killing their children grow into a massive hysteria or viral outbreak that sees the mass slaughter of the young, the world is thrown into chaos. Focusing on the highly dysfunctional Ryan family, parents Brent (Nicolas Cage, THE COLOR OUT OF SPACE, MANDY) and Kendall (Selma Blair HELLBOY, IN THEIR SKIN) and their kids Carly (Anne Winters THE TRIBE) and Josh (Zackary Arthur THE 5th WAVE, TRANSPARENT). As the kids fight to stay alive, and their parents grow more determined to kill them, it becomes a literal family feud.

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Given the director’s previous credits such as CRANK and GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE I was expecting MOM AND DAD to concentrate on the action and survival horror elements of the plot, what I wasn’t expecting was a nasty and gleefully dark-humored assault on suburban life in general and family life in particular.

Everything from school and its cliques to drug use and casual racism. Of course, marriage and family life gets the worst treatment. Between Cage’s flashbacks to his single days and the dialogue between Cage and Blair as they stalk their offspring family life is relentlessly skewered. All of this is done in a fast-moving, hyperactive style, as you would expect from one of the directors of the CRANK films.

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The film does have its straight out horror moments. The scenes in the hospital delivery room or the horde of parents storming the school, for example. This helps give the humor its edge, we know what the stakes are, we know death is a very real possibility, even as we laugh at what we’re seeing. The result is one of the edgiest comedies since COOTIES, which also involved a lot of dead kids.

Momentum Pictures will release MOM & DAD in Theaters, on VOD and Digital HD on January 19, 2018.

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