Mom and Dad

One half of the duo behind Crank returns with Mom and Dad, a horror comedy about murderous parents, starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair

Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 05 Mar 2018
Film title: Mom and Dad
Director: Brian Taylor
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Zackary Arthur, Robert Cunningham, Olivia Crocicchia
Release date: 9 Mar
Certificate: 15

For fans of a certain brand of cinematic maximalism, it’s been much too long – six years, in fact – since the directing duo known as Neveldine/Taylor (the Crank series) brought to the screen a dose of their signature high concept madness. Mark Neveldine went solo with religious horror The Vatican Tapes in 2015, but Brian Taylor’s partner-free return to the directing chair, Mom and Dad, is much more in line with the duo’s earlier collaborations.

And what a high concept he has here. A mass hysteria of unknown origin breaks out across the USA, causing parents to turn violently on their children. Not all children, but specifically their own kids; unless one is actively trying to prohibit their attempts at murder, a rampaging parent will generally leave any young person who’s not their progeny well alone.

It’s George A. Romero meets the modern family, and, crucially, Taylor (also the writer) skips any gradual escalation for the chaos. Hostility is always at the heart of the family unit, it’s just usually covered up with a veneer of performative benevolence.

Reuniting with Nicolas Cage after Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Taylor exploits his star’s penchant for the manic for all it's worth. It’s Selma Blair, however, who steals the film; an attentive co-star who’s great for Cage to play off.

As with Taylor’s collaborations with Neveldine, not everything thrown in alongside the kitchen sink lands, while there’s a sense that a bigger budget could have really helped polish some of the fun ideas. And fair warning: while the film’s grindhouse-y opening credit sequence is enjoyable, it ends up spoiling a plot turn from the finale, one that would have been more amusing had it not been made known that a certain cult favourite was still to make an appearance. Maybe just shut your eyes for roughly the first 30 seconds of those opening credits...

Mom and Dad is released 9 Mar by Vertigo Releasing