Mom and Dad – Review

Family misfortunes with Rage Cage.

Firstly, if you’re planning to see this film, don’t read on; you’re better off going in with zero information and it’ll definitely play out as a more intriguing watch. Come back after.

You’re back, and by now you’ve probably just watched Nicholas Cage (Brent) and Selma Blair (Kendall) try to kill their son and daughter after being affected by some sort of static, white noise virus.

While this film is touted as a horror/thriller, it plays out more like a B-movie, with dark humour and gore as the filler components to get you through. Thankfully it’s a pretty short movie, so while the end may come at a surprising point, you aren’t ever looking at your watch and wondering when the madness will stop.

Nicholas Cage goes fully Nic-Cage here, barking and hooting his murderous way around the house. He’s playing out the fantasy of man who longs for his youth, when he’d speed around in his car, his girlfriend’s breasts billowing against his face in a whimsical fashion. But what’s distracting is that he looks like a sixty-year-old man playing a forty-year-old. Meanwhile, Mom just wants to feel valued again as a mother and as member of society (hint: if you’re seeking a more cathartic mother-daughter performance, check out Laybird instead).

There is no reason given for the red mist which comes over the parents of the world, with a muddled message about the media and technology lost in there somewhere. From the shoddily mocked up “tv experts”, to the Instagram scrolling reflection looming large in a car window, the film appears to be having a dig – even the high-school teacher is having a pop at the way we consume passively consume technology.

That social commentary doesn’t stop there though, it is spread wide, with a generational divide thrown in late on, questioning even further the erosion of family values in America. You might also try and tie in the following themes if you wish: gun crime, race, terrorism and failing school systems.

The majority of the action takes place in the house, and it’s here the pace of the film seems to stumble. The kids are locked in the basement and it takes forever to resolve that situation. Worse still is the stilted dialogue and the jarring disparity between the behaviour of other parents and Cage’s grandiose, maniac dad. While other parents hunt with zombie-like efficiency (standing at the glass in hospital, eyeing up their newborns), Brent is a quip-tastic, babbling volcano.

‘A muddled message about the media and technology lost in there somewhere.’

Australian DJ, Mr Bill (yeah, me neither), scatters the film with warped, jittering sounds, which feel like they’re about to give you a tension headache. Maybe that’s the point; that by adding to the confusion you’re more off-guard. However, it seems more like they couldn’t decide whether to foreshadow things heavily, or just pummel you for the fun of it. Thankfully, this is all less noticeable as you go on and the true nature of the familial issues is played out.

Without knowing whether to go all-in with the hamminess of the film, or play for straight fear and dread, there is an awful mixture left over. It’s enjoyable when it’s bad on purpose, but when it tries to lumber over a message, you find yourself wanting to yell “What!? What are saying?” like a grandmother with poor hearing. Also, do you need to know what caused it all? Or how it will be resolved? Your opinion doesn’t matter, the film has decided you don’t.

Don’t look for any allegory or metaphorical messages and you might have an alright time with this film. There will never be a reason to see this again, unless of course you’re not already a parent and become one further down the line. Parents: are you really filled with rage and animosity towards your kids? Maybe it’s something only a parent can truly ever appreciate.


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