|Image courtesy of Momentum Pictures.|
The film's last line best summarizes Brian Taylor's comedic horror movie, "We love you kids, but sometimes we want to..." In the tradition of such films as "28 Days Later" or the numerous "Living Dead" pictures, "Mom and Dad" features some sort of outbreak - in this case, it's one that turns parents against their children. Some talking heads on news channels make the case that it could be a biological attack that causes the species to eliminate its young, therefore terminating its future, but "Mom and Dad" is not particularly interested in fleshing out the particulars.
In some suburb somewhere, Carly (Anne Winters) and Josh (Zackary Arthur) live with their parents, Brent (Cage) and Kendall (Selma Blair). None of the clan - except, perhaps, Josh - is functioning normally, even before the outbreak. Carly steals from her mother's wallet and has a "who cares?" attitude toward school and life in general. Brent is fantasizing about his formative years when he drove around in a muscle car with a topless girl and becomes frustrated after the construction of his man cave, pool table included, goes awry. Kendall takes aerobics classes to stay in shape and is generally bored now that her children have lives of their own.
An early series of scenes is both creepy and good for a laugh after the outbreak begins and teens look quizzically at the gates of their school, where their parents are lined up, perhaps, a little too eagerly to pick them up. A bloodbath then commences. Carly and Josh do their best to survive, along with the help of Carly's secret boyfriend, Damon (Robert T. Cunningham), who continuously takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
If "Mom and Dad" isn't as sharp of a satire as it might think, its selling points are Blair and Cage, both of whom get some good scenes. In recent years, Cage has frequently appeared in lower budget films, providing dialed up performances that often border on insanity - most notably, Werner Herzog's wonderfully weird "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans." The actor gets a few particularly bonkers sequences here - the destruction of his pool table and his enthusiasm for a drill, particularly - and they are fun to watch.
While my overall enthusiasm for "Mom and Dad" is somewhat tepid - it aims to be a satire, but never really pays off as one - it is a movie made up of interesting moments that, unfortunately, never cohere into a fully realized vision. In other words, it's not bad, especially for those who seek out midnight movie material - this is one that might fit that bill.