It is a safe bet that you’ve never seen a movie quite like “Mom and Dad.” Starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair as parents trying to murder their children it is dark yet goofy. It’s trashy with no redeeming qualities and that’s what makes it great… or at least a fun night out at the movies.
Cage and Blair are Brent and Kendall Ryan, the slightly bored suburban parents of Carly (Anne Winters) and Josh (Zackary Arthur). He longs for his wild years, she is a devoted mom, but concerned about aging. When a mysterious plague—or is it mass hysteria?—hits town, turning parents against their kids, Brent and Kendall spend twenty-four-hours trying to trap and kill their kids. Finally they can act on all the resentments they’ve been harbouring against their kids for forcing them to grow up and leave their youth behind.
“Mom and Dad” is the very definition of a midnight movie. Cage, a master at playing heightened reality, has rarely been, well, Cagier and the sight of Blair sizing up tools to kill her daughter—should she use a meat hammer or long kitchen knife—is delightful in the most disturbing of ways.
Director Brian Taylor brings the same wild anarchic spirit he brought to movies like “Crank” and “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” In a quick 85 minutes he provides set-up, quick character studies and enough twisted action to keep eyeballs dancing and then, as though he ran out of film and couldn’t finish the film, it ends. Cuts to black just as it feels like the story is going to head into even wilder territory. I doubt it’s a cliffhanger to trigger a sequel (the story doesn’t have very far to go) so the suddenness of it comes as a shock—almost as much of a shock as parents trying to gas their own offspring.
I suppose “Mom and Dad” may have a secret agenda, a hidden subtext about filicide and the toxic relationships that push people to do the unthinkable, but if it is there, it is hidden under layers of raucously un-PC humour.