FILM: Mom and Dad: Ever wanted to kill your kids? You’re not alone
A few weeks ago, I went to the Soho Screening Rooms to watch a preview of Mom and Dad (or Mum and Dad, if you’re British) starring Selma Blair and Nicholas Cage as the titular parents.
Before parenthood was in my imminent future, there’s a lot I wouldn’t have related to, but things have changed.
When I was at dad-to-be stage, a mum went to the cinema with her newborn who clearly wasn’t as taken by A Monster Calls as the rest of us in the audience – baby’s feelings were made clear by screeching their lungs out.
Ordinarily, this would have likely caused my eyes to roll towards the ceiling in unison with excessive sighing. However, I had nothing but empathy because I foresaw my future in that moment – I would soon be the lunatic taking my babe in arms to the cinema.
So a film called Mom and Dad should be totally relatable, right? About that…
Mom and Dad’s brood consists of a sweet but mischievous nine-year-old son and self-absorbed teenage daughter and it’s the latter who acts as a primary source of friction within the family.
Showing no respect and refusing to connect with Mom, while leaving Dad furious with talk of her boyfriend, communication is not this family’s strong suit. And ironically, before shit hits the fan, that’s where the film is actually at it’s most realistic.
It makes the statement that no family is perfect – no matter what appearances in public or on social media may suggest – despite the deeply buried love they have for each other.
Granted, I’m far from this dysfunctional stage personally – I’d be worried if I were close, given my daughter is nine months at this point – but we’ve all seen and heard of teenage horror stories.
And a horror story this film really does become.
In a disturbingly dark turn of events, a happenstance results in parents across the US going against everything their natural instincts tell them – which is to protect and love your children unconditionally – to, err, kill them.
I said it was disturbingly dark, didn’t I?
As I watched, I found myself assuming Edgar Wright, mastermind of the Cornetto Trilogy – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, At World’s End – would probably be an avid fan of Mom and Dad.
Like his three flagship horror comedies, Mom and Dad builds tension and suspicion at every turn as you wait for the inevitable snap, never quite knowing when or where it’s going to come from, only that there will be plenty of opportunity to say:
I laughed out loud (and questioned whether that was acceptable in the process), cringed and grimaced in equal amounts – THAT hospital scene had a lot to do with the last part. Jesus!
Like the mother and baby in A Monster Calls, Mom and Dad was a wake-up call and/or warning sign of what my future could look like – just hopefully without the fury-filled spree of child terror.
Parents, especially those with the teenage transition underway may find themselves relating to the characters in many ways – ideally not the head-smashing or throttling aspects – whether that’s feeling trapped, shut off or as though they’ve lost a sense of their identity.
Murderous tendencies coupled with a mid-life crisis and Nicholas Cage the one experiencing both? You’re in for a treat.
Mom and Dad is in cinemas from Friday 9th March.