Mom and Dad follows a high school girl, her boyfriend and her younger brother as they try to survive an outbreak of violence in which parents kill their own children. As the death toll rises around the nation, the two siblings must find a way to survive the volatile psychosis their parents are under, trapped within their own home.
Mom and Dad Review
The "not quite zombie" outbreak concept isn't entirely original by itself. We have movies like The Crazies, and 28 Days Later and Cooties to an extent, giving us takes on the zombie realm with a twist. The Crazies, in particular, features a very similar concept to that of Mom and Dad, with a relatively intact consciousness, but a complete loss of inhibitions and an uncontrollable urge towards violence. But Mom and Dad gives plenty of originality by giving morbid flashbacks of reasonable doubt whether the violent tendencies are solely related to the outbreak.
Despite respectable arguments to the contrary that I'm sure exist out there, I found this movie to be almost flawlessly crafted to its goal. It has a late 80s/early 90s feel to it with a complete disregard for taking itself seriously, yet managing to deliver on disturbingly authentic emotions through its comically black methods. The early progressions of every day life towards the beginning of the film and the regular flashbacks throughout play a huge part in the storytelling while carnage ensues the rest of the time. The scenes are integral to the structure of the characters and the film would be sorely lacking without them.
Obviously, Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage steal the show. Their apparent struggle of coping with middle-aged marriage and parenthood turns to abhorrent rage towards the children they are essentially sworn to protect. It's a constant tug between sad and hilarious as each scene seems to seamlessly jump from dramatic to comedic to thrilling in seconds.
The soundtrack is definitely worth noting, as it sets the rhythm and tone throughout. Music can be an oft-ignored tool in horror, but here it is used to enhance every scene and pull the strings on either side of your cheek to bring a smile.
As far as horror comedies go, I found this film to be on the cusp of greatness at a lot of moments. Its lack of courage to take it a step further at times was a little disappointing, yet it took advantage of several opportunities to make me cringe at where it was going. It did more than enough to earn commendation from me.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 7/10