Writer/director Brian Taylor (Crank: High Voltage, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) plunders the ages to bring his horror comedy Mom and Dad to the screen. Everything from ’70s-style opening credits (similar to the ’80s influences at the end of Shane Black’s Iron Man 3) to ’50s-era shooting styles get a look in, adding extra layers to a simple slasher premise.
It might be a basic idea, but those doing the slashing are an inspired choice in the world of horror. Much like Stephen King’s Cell, something’s affecting the worldwide population, although in this case it’s not turning everyone into zombie-like killers, it’s forcing parents to wipe out their own offspring.
The early scene setting is skilfully done, as the mom and dad of the title (Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage) rail against their boring married lives, which are dominated by their distant teenage daughter (Anne Winters) and younger son (Zackary Arthur). The family’s breakfast banter has a believability most similar dialogue lacks, even as it serves its expositionary purpose. Landing smack bang in the middle of this full-blown midlife crisis is the deadly cyber-attack that turns parentals into deadly killers.
We’re a fan of any project that lets Cage off the leash to go full Cage, and this film doesn’t just loosen his restraints, it hacks them off with a Sawzall. Taylor doesn’t hang around putting that energy to good use, as a sense of menace quickly gives way to full-on violence. Along the way there are plenty of super-creepy moments, as well as some teeth-grittingly uncomfortable scenes with a young baby.
With some killer music choices that bring Tarantino to mind along the way (even Cage’s use of the Hokey Cokey is spot-on), an ending that’s too-abrupt is the only real misstep given the fun that has gone before.
Release: 9 March 2018
From: Vertigo Releasing
Format: Theatrical Release
Age Rating: 15