Magazine article Screen International

'Mom and Dad': Toronto Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Mom and Dad': Toronto Review

Article excerpt

Down and dirty pulp pleasure with Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair

Dir/scr. Brian Taylor. US. 2017. 83mins

The B-movie action-thriller Mom And Dad sports a fun but thin premise which is mostly an excuse for filmmaker Brian Taylor - formerly one-half of the Crank directing duo Neveldine/Taylor - to unleash his brand of adrenalised bedlam. Imagining a Purge-like scenario in which, inexplicably, parents are suddenly overcome with a desire to murder their children, the film lets Nicolas Cage’s gonzo performance be its guide, mixing mocking self-parody and giddy enthusiasm for an utterly disposable, demented genre diversion.

Mom And Dad’s concept is so delightfully twisted that the movie doesn’t need a lot more to be successful

A quintessential Midnight Madness selection at the Toronto Film Festival, Mom And Dad won’t make waves in the mainstream, but fans of Taylor and Cage (who starred in his Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance) will no doubt savour the down-and-dirty pulp pleasures. Theatrical prospects look respectable, although the movie ought to fit on the small screen just as easily.

Set in an anonymous suburban community, the film stars Cage and Selma Blair as Brent and Kendall, a discontented married couple with two kids: Carly (Anne Winters) and Joshua (Zackary Arthur). After Carly arrives at school one morning, a strange phenomenon starts occurring around town in which random adults are killing their offspring. Carly races home to protect her younger brother, which puts her in the crosshairs of her now-bloodthirsty folks.

Mom And Dad’s concept is so delightfully twisted that the movie doesn’t need a lot more to be successful. Alas, it turns out that there isn’t much else to the film as Taylor, who also wrote the script, crafts a rather standard close-quarters thriller, pitting the kids against the parents.

To be sure, there’s inventiveness to Taylor’s design. He incorporates some clever split-screens to create tension, and the whiplash editing ratchets up the intensity and the occasional slapstick humour. But even at only 83 minutes, Mom And Dad can feel protracted, with Taylor using flashbacks to flesh out his threadbare characters. …

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