My favourite movie genre is horror comedy. There’s just something about the blend of those two genres that almost guarantees entertainment. Return of the Living Dead, Evil Dead II, Braindead, Shaun of the Dead, the list goes on and on. It’s a category that seems the perfect fit for an actor with the skills and eccentricities that Nicolas Cage provides. However, while we have seen memorable performances in films such as: Vampires Kiss & The Wicker Man. It feels like there should be more, much more.
Mom & Dad is a horror comedy that stars Nicolas Cage alongside Selma Blair.
The Ryan’s are a family of four with a strained relationship. Nicolas Cage plays Brent, the father, who makes it abundantly clear he does not approve of his daughter Carly’s new boyfriend, Damon. Naturally, Carly is angry with him, as well as her mother, Kendall (Blair), who she considers out of touch. They argue in the car because Kendall is excited that her sister is about to give birth but Carly couldn’t care less. Also, she is forced to cancel plans with Damon because her grandparents are visiting.
As Carly is at school, an unexplained static starts transmitting through TV screens and radios. A mob of parents gather outside the school but nobody knows why. The parents want their children to be let out of school and begin to riot when the request is refused. A boy makes it over the fence, only to be brutally stabbed and beaten by his parents. The mob of parents rush Carly’s school in an effort to kill their children by any means they can. Carly escapes the school with her friend Riley and hides out at her house, where Riley’s mom attacks and strangles Riley to death. Carly runs home in terror, running into Damon, who has killed his own father in self-defence.
Damon tells Carly that the parents only want to kill their own kids, and accompanies her home to get her brother Josh somewhere safe. After an exercise class, Kendall goes to the hospital to be present for her sister Jenna’s baby. However, the static transmits just after Jenna gives birth, causing her to attempt to kill her baby. Kendall escapes the hospital, seeing reports of the mass hysteria on television. It explains that the static gives parents a natural instinct to slaughter their children. In an effort to protect her own children, Kendall heads home and so does Brent.
Upon seeing Carly with Damon at home, the hysteria fully overtakes Brent. He knocks Damon out and attacks Carly. Kendall joins him upon getting home; Carly and Josh escape them and lock themselves in the basement. Kendall and Brent bond over their shared desire to kill their children. They decide to run a hose from their oven’s gas pump to the basement in an effort to poison the kids.
Will they succeed and satisfy their insatiable desire to murder Carly & Josh? Check out Mom & Dad to find out.
What truly enticed me to watch this film was obviously Nicolas Cage. However, I have to give a lot of credit to the creative, original concept. Also, while Cage does indeed deliver a brilliant performance. I must praise the other actors in the film for the same.
I liked that the film doesn’t go into great detail to explain the how or why of what is happening is. It gives you a simple explanation and runs with it. It’s funny because Brent & Kendall are two people who’re miserable with their lives. Brent fantasizes about his youth and seems to just generally hate his current existence.
There is a hilarious flashback in which he decides to build a pool table from scratch in the family garage. Kendall questions this which leads to him having a massive breakdown. He destroys the table with a sledgehammer and goes on a lengthy rant about his lost identity and how unhappy he is. Instead of shouting at Brent, Kendall simply agrees. Cage shows a fantastic array of emotions here. These moments lead you to the belief that they were happiest before they had children, which isn’t an uncommon sentiment. It’s like all of the miserable parents had their darkest wish granted when the part of the brain that makes them love and protect their children was switched off.
While watching you get the feeling that the budget was likely limited. However, the gore effects used are quite impressive. I wasn’t much of a fan of the soundtrack but it is certainly unique and fitting for the craziness on display.
Mom & Dad has a number of genuinely dark yet hilarious moments. You get to witness Brent (Cage) & Kendell (Blair) excitedly think up grotesque ways to kill their children. They are relentless in their desire to murder them in any way possible, it’s very entertaining. Eventually, the tables are turned which only leads to more hilarity. Cage & Blair work off of each other really well, it’s very amusing. In a lot of ways, it’s very much like a home invasion film if the invaders were your bloodthirsty parents.
Still, the best is saved for the last. Whoever decided to cast Lance Henriksen as Nicholas Cage’s father is an absolute genius. Seeing them fight to the death is something I never knew I wanted to see and it didn’t disappoint.
Overall, Mom & Dad is a genuinely fun horror comedy. Nicolas Cage delivers a classic performance and everybody else is great too. It’s a quality concept that leads to a number of memorable moments. I do believe it will be one of those movies that garners a cult following in time and deservedly so.
Mom and Dad
The Final Score - 8/10