Image of Nicholas Cage in horror movie 'Mom and Dad'

Mom and Dad [2017]: Having an indie black comedy with a social commentary is a very unique cinematic endeavor, and director Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad attempts to highlight the unique bond between parents and their young. The film sets the scene for an event of mass hysteria wherein parents around the world feel a sudden, primal urge to kill their children. Siblings Carly and Josh must take a stand against their now-aggressive mother (Selma Blair) and father (Nicholas Cage) or face deadly consequences.

Bad Seed: Whether intentional or unfortunately circumstantial, Mom and Dad’s arsenal of humor and horror is incredibly lacking. There are moments in the film that could be interpreted as an attempt at comedy, but they end up coming up short with cringe-inducing moments instead. It’s difficult to find scenes like Nicholas Cage destroying a pool table while maniacally singing “The Hokey Pokey” terror-inducing in the slightest, and whether they’re meant to be taken as a joke is not particularly convincing either. There was potential in the interesting premise for some sort of payoff or ironic twist, but what the audience is left with is a “what if” scenario with no redeemable end result.

Family Tree: Our family of four in Mom and Dad come off as the typical suburban byproduct: a father who pines for his former glory days of youth post-matrimony, a mother looking for some excitement to escape from her home life, a teenage daughter whose personality is whittled down to texting and boys, and a hyperactive younger brother. Are these characters fleshed out to their true potential? No. Do they possess any redeemable qualities that deviate from cliche? Not at all. But do they have convincing enough chemistry onscreen? Surprisingly, yes. Although the characters in Mom and Dad are by no means memorable in the slightest, their portrayal as a typical family unit is believable and while it may not be something to make viewers hope for their survival at the end, it at least helps establish a decent set-up.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far: Overall, Mom and Dad suffers from its tired script, depraved execution, and vapid characters. The laughs garnered from the film are sparse and far between, mostly unintentional due to the ridiculousness of the horror or simply Cage’s delivery. Teen drug use and Zumba classes are the depictions offered when the film tries to present itself as a corrupted suburban nightmare, which is unfortunately not the kind of narrative that Mom and Dad introduces. What could have been a promising thriller focusing on a disturbing global phenomenon was hindered by a disappointingly underwhelming plot.


Suffering from an identity crisis of genre and hollow leads,
Mom and Dad has all the forced awkwardness of a distant family reunion.

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