Director Brian Taylor is not a man of subtlety. The mind behind Crank, Crank: High Voltage and Gamer has a penchant for the frenzied. Mom and Dad is no different. From the off, Taylor’s film has its metaphorical IV filled with a concoction of energy drinks and crushed mystery pills. Jarring camerawork is paired with sweary dialogue and an unrelenting, frothing-at-the-mouth Nicolas Cage. The concept goes that parents wish to kill their own children. Ten minutes in, we lose our first high-schooler to a parent armed with a set of keys. That’s just the way it goes.
There’s no art within these frames, yet Taylor can capture a certain manic energy that makes his film watchable in part. Wondrous jolts from the blurred mania arrive in shots involving new parents feverishly staring into a maternity ward, and Cage destroying a pool table. These are, sadly, miniature diamonds in a world full of coal.
Despite Cage and Blair’s tremendous efforts, this film feels at odds with itself at every turn. It wants to be funny, but it’s not. It wants to be scary, yet it fails. Add in a supposed dash of satire through the notion that TV warps society, and you end up with a film that frustrates and befuddles. The base idea is a fun one but the execution is poor, giving the film the undesired power of making an 85-minute run time feel long.
Nicolas Cage says this was the most fun he has had making a film in the last decade. It certainly shows. As a vehicle for the actor’s mania, Mom and Dad works fine. Outside of the Cage, the film’s themes and storylines run at different beats and tempos to one another resulting in plenty of noise but little enjoyment.
CAST: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Zackary Arthur
DIRECTOR: Brian Taylor
WRITER: Brian Taylor
SYNOPSIS: A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids.