Imagine, if you will, that someone figures a way to turn off that natural parental instinct that’s instilled in the majority of new parents to care and love, welcome to Mom And Dad.
Nicolas Cage (Kick Ass, The Rock) and Selma Blair (Hellboy, Anger Management (TV)) play the titular Mom and Dad to two kids; daughter Anne Winters (The Fosters (TV), The Tribe) and son Zackary Arthur (The 5th Wave, Transparent (TV)).
They live on a pretty little generic street in somewhere, USA. Cage was once a hellraiser but now he’s a nine to fiver in a job he hates, Blair is a yummy mummy, both are wondering where their youth has gone.
Then one day, TV’s start playing white noise and this seems to send parents crazy, really crazy. Parents, around the world, begin attacking and killing their own children. A woman leaves her car on a railway track with a baby in the back, and parents flock to schools, intent on harming their ‘loved ones’.
Winters and her friend escape school and drive over to her friend’s house where her mom promptly kills her, but acts all nice and friendly with Winters. Winters legs it over to her own house, on the way bumping into boyfriend Robert T. Cunningham, and together they make an attempt to rescue her brother before mom and dad get home.
This doesn’t work out as planned as Cage arrives home early and goes crazy at the sight of his son and ends up knocking out Cunningham. What follows is, quite possibly, the strangest stand-off committed to celluloid as Cage and Blair attempt to kill their children, Winters and Zackary, by gassing them out of the basement.
Mom And Dad is the brainchild of none other than Brian Taylor, he of Crank and Gamer fame. Taylor’s idea isn’t exactly anything new, but the execution, particularly in the direction, is distinctive.
At times Mom And Dad has the feel of a 50’s horror movie, at times it feels not too dissimilar to Crank and all the while it’s filled with the darkest of humour and good fun.
Cage is perfectly let loose as the father. Whilst dialogue isn’t memorable and what there is is short lived, Cage executes the few speeches he has with the perfect mix of crazy and anger. This is almost the Cage of old, the loose cannon Cage, we like it.
Blair I was less convinced by. Her character wasn’t that well written, a hint at something in her past that she wants to get back into and some need to keep fit, are all we’re really given, but reasoning is short on supply.
Winters, Arthur and Cunningham all perform well, though despite a strong start for the film, it’s when the three children gather in the family home to take on mom and dad that Taylor begins to get all cliched on us.
The children all start to become really dumb, not trying to escape their crazed parents despite all three of them having witnessed a parent kill their child at least once, and be attacked by their own parent.
There are far too many eye-roll moments whereby characters could have gotten away or ended things but don’t, because then the movie would have only been an hour long.
Taylor has a lot to answer for with Cunningham’s character for instance. He’s portrayed as a smart kid, someone trying to get good grades, better himself. And yet he turns into frickin’ Rambo or Terminator getting knocked out, slashed, cut-up and thrown from great heights, yet always, always, managing to get back up just in the nick of time to save the day.
With such a strong start and an exciting, fun and slightly crazy premise, Mom And Dad promised so much and began to deliver. But the final 30 to 45 minutes is too much style over substance, too much cliché, too much eye-rolling inducing, for the film to really crank itself to be a cut above.