Mom and Dad 2017
I have to confess not knowing too much about ‘Mom and Dad’ when I went to see it. I’ve always been a big fan of Nicholas Cage (even despite his recent run of terrible straight-to-DVD films) so I was delighted to see his (to my knowledge) first film to be actually released in the cinema for many years (was ‘Kick A$$’ the last?).
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He and Selma Blair play a pair of suburban parents to your typical rebellious teenage girl and young son. To begin with, the film seems to be quite a quirky social satire (even comedic at times), however in a moment the tone suddenly goes much darker when a set of creepy events takes place. Then, from ‘mildly unsettling’ it changes again to all out murderous panic when every parent in the world (I’m guessing) decides to murder their own children in as grisly manner possible.
And, if you’re now asking ‘Why would they do that?’ then you’d be in the same boat as me. Hopefully I won’t be spoiling the movie too much if I say now that the film asks a lot of questions and then delivers very little in the way of actual answers (this severely links into my feelings towards the ending, but, as I say, I won’t spoil it for you).
What follows is basically the two children doing their best to survive their parents’ attacks (just their parents I’ll clarify – parents only want to kill their own children and no one else – please don’t ask why – it’s just how it is!). This led me to my first personal complaint is that there’s a distinct lack of Nicholas Cage in the first third, as the film concentrates on the youngsters more than their parents.
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However, when Cage is finally given the freedom to do what he does best (go crazy and totally overact) he doesn’t disappoint. However, as much as I’d like to see this as a ‘vehicle’ to get him back into mainstream cinema, it probably won’t be. For a start it won’t be seen by that many people due so some truly horrific moments. I’m a die-hard horror fan and, on the one hand I grumble about the lack of ‘real scares’ in horror films these days, seeing some of the boundaries this film tries to push (when it effectively comes to infanticide) it left me feeling more than a little uneasy.
It’s not just the content that doesn’t sit well, the random shifts in character for almost everyone feels a little odd at times. Throughout the film, one character shows no aptitude for a specific skill she suddenly acquires just to move the plot forward, leaving the film feeling like ‘Home Alone’ for a moment. Then, whenever the film starts to truly pick up pace, the film-maker tries to make up for a lack of character motivation by throwing in – seemingly random – flashbacks which merely extend the runtime and slow everything down by being a bit pointless.
The soundtrack may be good and Cage is enjoyable to watch, sadly the film is a hard one to sit through. As I mentioned, it’s very nasty in places (especially if you’re a parent) and its constant shifts in tone leave it a bit of a jarring mess. This is particularly disappointing because I have this weird feeling that there’s a good film in their somewhere and with a few more re-writes in pre-production could have made it into a decent little horror flick.