M.O.M. (MOTHERS OF MONSTERS) (2020) Review
What do you do if you think your child is a psychopath? If he’s smart enough to act normal in public but lets his true nature show in private. And if you do find out he’s planning something truly evil, what do you do then? That’s the dilemma at the centre of writer/director Tucia Lyman’s film M.O.M. (Mothers Of Monsters).
Jacob Bell (Bailey Edwards, Bright) is a teen with issues, lots of them. His mother Abbey (Melinda Page Hamilton) has gone to the authorities before, but they’ve dismissed her fears as unfounded. So, she wires the house with hidden cameras to record his activities. She’s convinced he’s planning a school shooting and constantly snoops through his room and computer for proof.
However, when Jacob finds out she’s got the house monitored he decides to mess with her. Unfortunately, that leads to even darker consequences for both of them.
M.O.M. (Mothers Of Monsters) takes some very real fears and runs them through a found footage filter. The results aren’t scary in the way we usually think of a movie. Instead of jump scares there’s a disturbing feeling of plausibility and tension. As much as a part of me said this wouldn’t really happen this way, there have been too many headlines that say otherwise.
Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) turns up briefly as a psychiatrist but M.O.M. (Mothers Of Monsters) is primarily a two-character film. It muddies the waters by showing us that Abbey may have her own issues. We see her drinking heavily and taking prescription meds. However, there’s no doubt about Jacob’s mental state.
M.O.M. (Mothers Of Monsters) has barely begun when we see him drop a brick off an overpass into traffic. Nazi paraphernalia and animal torture are other fairly strong indicators that he’s dangerous. Trying to raise doubt as to whether or not he’s a victim is ludicrous. Whatever other issues Abbey may have, she’s right to be worried.
A particular stroke of brilliance was the use of actual home movies of Bailey Edwards as a child. These are edited to serve as proof Jacob has always been unstable. It brings a sense of authenticity to the scenes that another actor, no matter how strong they resembled him, couldn’t.
The final act builds up considerable tension on its way to a grim and chilling final shot. Viewers may be divided by the path the plot takes at this point. It wasn’t what you would expect, but it does make sense. Which is about all I’m going to say about it so I don’t drop any spoilers.
Indie Rights will open M.O.M. (Mothers Of Monsters) in Los Angeles for a week-long run at the Arena Cinelounge on Friday the 13th of March before the film premieres on Cable and Digital VOD. You can check the film’s website and Facebook page for more details.