Mom and Dad
mom and dad | brian taylor | nicolas cage | selma blair | anne winters | thriller | united states | psychopath | lance henriksen | zackary arthur | robert t. cunningham | rachel melvin | olivia crocicchia | samantha lemole
Film: Mom and Dad
Director: Brian Taylor
Writer: Brian Taylor
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair and Anne Winters
This film starts with a woman parking her van on train tracks. She gets out of her vehicle as the gates come down. She walks away from it as a train hits her van.
We then shift to a girl talking on her phone. She is Anne Winters and she is talking to her boyfriend. He has the PSATs to take that morning and he is Robert T. Cunningham. Winters is interrupted by her brother, Zackary Arthur. She is told to come down for breakfast. She gets dressed and stops off at her parents’ room. She looks at the purse and takes money from it.
This is where we meet her mother, Selma Blair, and father, Nicolas Cage. Cage is messing around with his son instead of eating their food. They’re also making quite the mess. Also there is their housekeeper and her daughter. She is watching the news on a portable television. It is there that they learn about the mother who parked on the tracks and that her child might have been in the vehicle too. Winters asks if she can go to the movies with her friend that night, even though she wants to sneak away to see her boyfriend. Blair tells her she can’t because her grandparents are coming for dinner. Cage is on to what she really wants to do. Blair’s sister is also expecting to have her baby on this day as well.
Blair drives Winters to school while Arthur stays home and hangs out with Cage until he has to go to work. They are play-fighting and there is a scene where Arthur throws a ball and it hits Cage in the back of the head. He turns around with an odd look on his face, before breaking into a smile.
At school we meet Winters’ best friend, Olivia Crocicchia. She gets her phone taken away when listening to music. Winters also gets busted for sending her a text. Joseph D. Reitman is the teacher and he is interrupted twice in his lecture with needing students to go to the office. When class lets out everyone goes outside due to the police showing up at the school and a group of parents outside the fence.
Cunnigham’s pencil breaks while he is taking his test so he goes to get a new one. When he does, he sees a group of parents waiting outside of the doors. He finishes his first with twenty minutes to go. When he leaves, the parents go inside the classroom. He goes home to his father, who has a drinking problem. He wakes up and there’s something not right about him.
Blair goes to Zumba class with her friend, Samantha Lemole, and then they get tea and smoothies afterwards. Lemole is Crocicchia’s mother. Blair realizes she is missing money from her wallet and Lemole states it is Winters that did it. When they part ways, Blair is frustrated with things in her life and breaks down. She gets a call from her sister who is having her baby.
At home the housekeeper’s TV turns to static and then she murders her daughter with a meat tenderizer. Arthur sees this and freaks out. At school, the parents turn on their children and start to kill them. They try to run, but some don’t make it. The police try to stop the carnage. Winters and Crocicchia get to her vehicle and head for her house. Is her mother home? Are all parents affected or just some? What is causing this? What can Winters expect when she gets home?
Now when I first heard about this film, I was intrigued. I love the concept of this one. The film even breaks it down best. There is the instinct for parents to protect their young, it is an inherit trait. There are instances in the wild where animal parents will kill their young. I like that they are not crazed outside of the fact that they want to kill their children. When their kids aren’t around, they still act as normal or as normal as you can during a crisis like this. The film never really explains what happens but there is something that if you pay attention happens in the background when parents snap. There are some convenient things that happen though. Blair and Cage don’t snap until they get home, but all the parents at the school snapped and then went there looking for their kids. I get this is a plot device, but it is hole as well. I also enjoyed the writing, there are a lot puns, phrases and things throughout that help to levitate some of the tension which is good for a film like this. I did like that this story went deeper than I thought it would. We see aspects of a mid-life crisis, life not turning out how they wanted it and dissatisfaction. It made me feel bad for Cage and Blair, as I get older I’m starting to have these concerns about my life. The ending left me wanting a little more, but it doesn’t ruin the film.
The acting for this film was good actually. Cage stated that this was his favorite film to work on in ten years and I can see why. He gets to go full on crazy Cage and it fits the film perfectly. The problem I did have is he disappears for a good stretch of the film though. Blair was solid in her role as well. I felt bad for her when she couldn’t get a job at the old place she worked and she looks devastated. Both are great in their pursuit of trying to kill their kids and some of their lines are great. I was very impressed by Winters as well. I found her attractive and want to see her in more things. I’m curious about what other roles she can play. She has the angst teenager who realizes the error of her ways down. It was fun to see Lance Henriksen make an appearance near the end. I also thought the rest of the cast rounded out the film well. The parents do a solid job at playing crazy when after their kids, but appearing normal when they are addressed.
Another bright spot was the effects. Now there was some CGI, but I thought it looked good. There seemed to me to be quite a bit of practical effects as well. The combination of the two really impressed me. The editing of the film I felt could have used a little bit of work though. There is a lull in the middle when the children are in the basement and the parents have them trapped. I just found myself a little bit bored. The film also runs a little long in my opinion. It does build the tension that the film needs. It has a lot of action and doesn’t take too long to get into it. The ending doesn’t give the greatest payoff though either. The score was something else that I really liked. It is different throughout and the song choices were great. It fits the scenes and helps to set the mood.
Now with that said, I would recommend giving this film a viewing. I came in with lower expectations, because I didn’t know what to expect. This film was surprisingly pretty solid. The concept of the film is great. It has more depth than I expected it to have. The ending I don’t think everyone will enjoy. I thought the acting to the film was really good. Cage crushes this role and Blair makes you feel bad for a woman trying to kill her kids. The real star though is Winters. The effects look to be a combination of practical and CGI which worked well. The editing of the film could have been tightened up, but it still builds tension. The score also definitely was a plus to the film. I found this film to be good. It has a nice blend of horror and comedy with a little bit of thriller mixed in as well. I definitely think this film should be seen for the craziness.
My Rating: 8 out of 10