In Brian Taylor’s first theatrical release since the critically panned Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Mom and Dad is miraculously a grand slam. Taking a simplistic yet unique premise and turning it on it’s head, Taylor has created an authentically great movie. Now I may be jumping a bit over the roof about this particular aspect but that’s only because I’ve been waiting since 2009 for another thrilling and enjoyable movie from this director. True fans will love the style alone, and everything else will just be icing on the cake, while first time viewers of his work may be in for a very odd ride.
The direction is top notch with Mom and Dad, as it feels like an incredibly fluent and fast paced joyride through the insane world Taylor has created. From the opening credits, to the discreet yet somehow cringe worthy massacre taking place on screen, Brian Taylor hasn’t lost his charm or his passion to film with his own style and not give in to more traditionally accepted methods. A slight grain hovers over the film as to point out that this isn’t really the world we live in, but a world manufactured by Taylor from script to screen. As a fan of the Crank director, what was provided was more than enough for me to feel compensated for watching the full 83 minute runtime.
Without Taylor’s wacky script, there’d be no high voltage direction to take this to new heights. The script provides scenes that will permanently burn into your brain, not because of the amount of gore presented on screen, but the unrelenting passion of the parents killing their own children. The cause of the massacres is never verified, which is a possible fault for some, but for me the open resolution and lack of closure is part of the fun that would only be spoiled with a sequel.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Nic Cage and Selma Blair deliver some of the most surprising performances of their careers, delivering the upsetting emotions needed for the role and the surreal insanity of the entire situation. In fact, some of the lines are the best quotes of their careers, especially in regard to Nic Cage. The focus isn’t primarily on them from the start, as the film showcases parents and children around the world brutalizing one another. Anne Winters and Zachary Arthur give commendable performances as the starring children, and are effective in providing you a child’s point of view, which is highlighted by the eccentric talent of Cage and Blair. B-Movie acting at its finest.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The film showcases a brilliant exploit of the standard sound design found in horror movies, but with a unique twist. The explosions and weapons have a cringeworthy impact to them as they make contact, which in turn made a strong impression. A mysterious entity is causing all the havoc occurring on screen, and a sudden burst of static happens whenever the murdering is about to take place. A fine background score helps guide the plot, but isn’t memorable in the slightest.
Appropriate amounts of blood and gore are spread throughout, creating a more visceral experience than if the gore was splattered everywhere haphazardly. The intelligent editing between brutalities makes for a more terrifying time, and the fast paced nature of Taylor’s direction & writing makes the effects more impactful. The harm that ensues from the events taking place is capitalized with the wonderful soft use of makeup applied, exploring the repercussions endured from someone fighting back.
Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad explores a territory that hasn’t been explored before, and in an unusually frantic fashion. An outrageous and beyond nuts performance by Cage, along with Blair, makes this cringe horror film transform into a psychotic comedy at certain moments. A fun, bloody thrill ride with the passion and energy of the Crank franchise, Mom and Dad surpassed almost all of my expectations in one way or another.