Every generation has its gripes about the next. Be it rock ‘n roll, avocado toast, or disrespectful attitudes, parents tend to look down upon their progeny. Lately it’s resulted in thinkpieces, but what if things escalated? Mom And Dad shows us a grotesque and hysterical battle between youth and elders unlike anything before.
The story follows the Ryan family, a typical American suburban family. Determined father, Brent (Nicolas Cage). Compassionate mother, Kendall (Selma Blair). Rebellious older daughter, Carly (Anne Winters) and naive younger son Josh (Zackary Arthur). It seems to be another usual day for this usual family… until the parents show up to see their kids at school unexpectedly. Brent becomes more and more short tempered and bitter. Kendall becomes more vindictive. Suddenly, generational warfare becomes deadly and Carly and Josh must survive the day as their Mom and Dad return home with sinister intent.
While horror stories of a virus or phenomena causing people to go crazy is nothing new to the genre, the mechanics of this particular instance makes it unique and entertaining. For one, the affected parents are only violent toward their offspring or anyone preventing them from slaughtering their young. The second and most important symptom being that the infected parents keep their personalities despite being filicidal maniacs, they still act the same as they normally would. Brent and Carly retaining their quirks and dialogue being indistinguishable from before. A creative trait that makes the conflict all the more interesting to watch rather than them just being berserkers.
The performances are outstanding all around as the family goes from getting on each other’s nerves to trying to take each other’s lives. Nicolas Cage gives a stunner of a show as the family patriarch turned psychopath. While many have seen one of the highlights with the ‘hokey-pokey’ sledgehammer bit in the trailer, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the cast are just as impacting, with Selma Blair’s character showing the ups and downs of motherhood and her descent into the madness. While the kids are energetic and stand out on their own, working together to survive their killer parents in surprisingly creative an unexpected ways.
The pacing is rather interesting, and perhaps a bit more rooted in writer/director Brian Taylor’s action movie roots. Amidst the action we are shown flashbacks to times the kids annoyed their parents or screwed up, paralleled with times they showed genuine love and affection for each other. Creating a lot of empathy for the characters, even the homicidal parents who’re being pushed by an unknown force. That type of editing may seem a little off, but it really captured the tone and the personalities of the family cast. There are also a lot of interesting cameos that pop up. I won’t say who, but when you do see them, they’ll make your jaw drop.
Overall, Mom And Dad is a darkly comic survival horror film that captures the topical issue of generational conflict between parents and children, and amps it up with an entertaining amount of violence and a kick-ass soundtrack! This is one I would highly recommend, but see it with your parents or children at your own discretion…