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Film Of The Week Don't try this at home

Mom and Dad is a perversely enjoyable satire about domestic violence at its most extreme, says MARIA DUARTE

Mom and Dad (15)
Directed by Brian Taylor
★★★★

NICOLAS CAGE is at his crazy best in this deliciously macabre horror-comedy satire about the pressures of parenthood, middle-aged anxiety and broken dreams in middle America as, with a mysterious epidemic sweeping the country, parents turn violently on their kids.

Mom and Dad begins with a woman driving a car onto a railway line and, leaving a toddler on the back seat, walks away. A train crashes into the vehicle, killing the child, and this sets the dark and twisted tone of this bonkers horror film written and directed by Brian Taylor, who seems to be channelling George A Romero.

Cage plays Brent Taylor, a disillusioned middle-aged father of two, who's having a midlife crisis. He hates his humdrum job and daydreams of his younger self driving wildly fast with a half-naked woman riding him as he nestles his head between her breasts.

“I was going to grab the world by the balls and squeeze,” he screams to his wife Kendall (Selma Blair) as he complains about how his life isn't what he had envisaged as a young man. She concurs, as she has seen her dreams dissipate while bringing up their ungrateful kids and looking after a family which doesn't appreciate her.

As the pair turn on their children Carly (Anne Winters) and Josh (Zackary Arthur), the action becomes confined to their home and the basement where the youngsters take refuge. Cue claustrophobic, edge-of-your-seat tension.

Armed with an electric saw, Cage is in over-the-top crazy mode — think The Shining — and he's a sight to behold, while Blair magnificently holds her own opposite him as they use every mean possible to kill their kids.

It is a wonderfully perverse premise. Just when you think Taylor isn't going to go to further extremes, he does. Violent, bloody and bonkers, there's no explanation given as to the why or how of the epidemic.

But it may also prove uncomfortable viewing for parents and make them think twice before uttering the immortal words: “If you touch this, I'll kill you”

 

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