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.
Kids are jerks. They can be self-absorbed, dishonest, and downright cruel at times. It can be agreed, though, that regardless of what happens, they are still loved. That is, until one day when parents suddenly snap and begin to turn on their own in a new hilarious, pitch black action horror comedy, Mom and Dad.
Everything seems normal. Brent (Nicolas Cage) and Kendall (Selma Blair) are starting an average day with their kids Carly (Anne Winters) and Josh (Zackary Arthur). The parents are sucking coffee down to come alive while the kids are chatting with their friends on social media. Everyone is snarky and disconnected, and going through their morning, existing.
Then something changes. While the kids are in school, parents slowly begin to get these blank, determined looks on their faces. In one hilariously dark scene, kids are, one by one, being called to the office from class as their parents are there to pick them up. Waiting outside, a crowd of moms and dads stand, arms crossed, intently focusing on their offspring.
“Cage is, well, uncaged.”
Suddenly shit goes crazy. School is let out and the mayhem begins. Carly escapes the melee at school with her pal Riley (Olivia Crocicchia) and they head to Riley’s home where Riley’s mom lies in wait. Carly’s boyfriend Damon (Robert T. Cunningham) is attacked by his father. In a particularly dark moment, we see what happens in a maternity ward when parents begin to turn on their progeny. Dark, funny and wickedly clever stuff. Riley, Damon, and Josh take cover in Riley’s home for safety. That is until Mom and Dad get home.
Brian Taylor writes and directs an efficient and endlessly entertaining action horror comedy that generates as many cringes as it does guffaws. The mechanics behind such a dark premise being turned into a comedy are dicey, yet the balance is, for the most part, on point. We are never given more than we need, and, like any good bit of writing, plot points are laid out precisely and then paid off perfectly. His direction is sharp and demands the audience keep up.
“…the material gives Cage and Blair the perfect playground in which to lose their shit…”
Cage is, well, uncaged. He is given a premise in which he can go full-on Cage crazy and it makes perfect, delicious sense. The eyes bugging out of his head, the Caesar Romero hair flaring out from his head, the go-for-broke, cray cray. It’s all here and fun as hell. Blair’s approach is cool and calculated, resourceful, and downright sexy. She is a comic actress with a devious edge.
One major qualm, however, is the ending. There can’t be enough said about Taylor’s script up until the conclusion. It is funny. Set-up plot points and expectations met perfectly. Every gimmick pays off what sick-minded horror fanatics hope for with style. Then Boom. The movie hits a brick wall and the credits roll. Now, I am not one who demands things be wrapped up in a neat little package by the time I see credits rolling, but this felt abrupt since everything up to then had been so disciplined.
Still, Mom and Dad is a raucous, hard-edged action horror comedy that never stops entertaining. Moving at a rapid pace, the action, the thrills, and the comedy simply do not let up and the material gives Cage and Blair the perfect playground in which to lose their shit and go insane. The movie is dark, hilarious bad ass fun.
Mom and Dad (2017) Directed by Brian Taylor. Written by Brian Taylor. Starring Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Lance Henriksen, Zackary Arthur
Mom and Dad is worth VOD (***).
Norm’s Rating System: Full Price (****), Matinee (***), VOD (**), Don’t Bother (*)