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Review: Parenting goes very bad in loopy horror comedy Mom and Dad

PUBLISHED: 08:53 09 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:53 09 March 2018

Nicolas Cage as Brent Ryan and Selma Blair as Kendall Ryan in Mom And Dad. Photo: Vertigo Releasing

Nicolas Cage as Brent Ryan and Selma Blair as Kendall Ryan in Mom And Dad. Photo: Vertigo Releasing

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Nuclear families go into meltdown in writer-director Brian Taylor’s deranged horror comedy, which conceives a sick and twisted battle of wits between children and their blood-crazed parents, with Nicolas Cage on manic form.

Nicolas Cage as Brent Ryan and Selma Blair as Kendall Ryan in Mom And Dad. Photo: Vertigo ReleasingNicolas Cage as Brent Ryan and Selma Blair as Kendall Ryan in Mom And Dad. Photo: Vertigo Releasing

Mom and Dad (15)

**

Every time Nicolas Cage gives a bad screen performance a little angel in heaven dies – excessively. He has scaled the highest of heights and plumbed the lowest of lows, yet somehow the gap between the two extremes is minimal. He only has to be a little off to be diabolical. Bad Cage performances hurt that bit more than other performers’ off days because you suspect he knows when he is letting himself down and going through the motion – motions too energised and furious to be described as coasting.

Mom and Dad represents a very bad day in heaven.

Nicolas Cage as Brent Ryan in Mom And Dad. Photo: Vertigo ReleasingNicolas Cage as Brent Ryan in Mom And Dad. Photo: Vertigo Releasing

Writer-director Brian Taylor is half of the team that made the Crank movies, an achievement close to genius in my opinion, and he has come up with a corker of a premise for this one – a black comic horror where parents are possessed with an uncontrollable urge to kill their offspring.

What a guilty pleasure delight – imagine it, just writing off this current generation as a duff batch and starting over again, but not before hiding the internet from them and making smart phones poisonous to anyone under 25. Come on, you know you want it.

Anyway, the film completely blows it, and expends a lot of energy doing so.

We begin with a glorious retro 1970s title sequence that is so good it had me rubbing my hands in expectation, but once we start this becomes entirely irrelevant.

There are some fun scenes, a smart parody of The Birds – parents gathering outside school rooms to attack their kids – but mostly it is a bunch of fast cuts in search of some cohesion, like a giant wind farm whizzing around just to light a single light bulb.

When in doubt Cage is prodded into doing a bit of gurning, but ends up being overshadowed by the far calmer Selma Blair, who is the only one trying to hold the movie together.

What a waste. The only hope is that one day there will be a Japanese remake.


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