Mom and Dad is a 2017 American horror comedy film that was written and directed by Bryan Taylor. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair. It premiered in the Midnight Madness section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
The film follows the Ryan family, a family of four with a strained relationship. Brent, the father, does not approve of his daughter Carly’s boyfriend; Carly is angry with her father, as well as her mother, Kendall, whom she considers to be out of touch. Carly also fights with her much younger brother, Josh, who annoys her. Carly is forced to cancel plans with her boyfriend, Damon, for dinner with her visiting grandparents. While at school, an unexplained static noise starts transmitting through the television screens and radios, and that’s when the madness begins.
The film was released on January 19, 2018, by Momentum Pictures, and has received generally positive reviews from film critics. According to the review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a “certified fresh” approval rating of 73% based on the 97 reviews that have been submitted, with an average rating of 6/10. The critical consensus reads, “Mom and Dad‘s gonzo premise serves as an effective springboard for a wickedly dark, bloody comedy – and an appropriately over-the-top performance from Nicolas Cage.”
The Film Itself (3.5/5):
Mom and Dad is a film that takes the entire concept of “I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it”; a quote that is often said in passing out of frustration caused by one’s child, and completely exemplifies it. Creating a world of instant chaos that really offers no origin story, Nicolas Cage plays the absolutely perfect example of insanity as he and his wife in the story try to do whatever they can to end the lives of their children. While it is obvious that the origin of the craziness is that unexplained noise that made its way over the television and radio airwraves, my wife and I were both a little bothered by the fact that they kept the overall origin of it a mystery. Presenting itself in a similar fashion like the Crank series (only because of Brian Taylor’s work on those films), we are given a really intense and insane story while these kids do whatever they can to survive. The story of the film, while an interesting concept, isn’t one that left us feeling too fulfilled and really had us asking more questions that went unanswered as the movie progressed. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible film, and offered a really different perspective into the frustrations that accompany parenthood; but, I really do feel that there could have been more.
Picture Quality (4.5/5):
Overall, the visual presentation offered by the Blu-ray release of Mom and Dad was clean and clear. Offering a nice look into not only the insanity that unfolded, but the overall intimate detail in the experience that these two children were going through as the adults around them are going crazy, my wife and I both were able to really appreciate the attention to detail to this film. There were a few moments as the kids were hiding from their parents that featured lower than your average levels of lighting that could have used more ambient lighting as it was a little tough to make out and visually understand everything; but overall it wasn’t bad and the extra focus was considerably minimal.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, the Blu-ray release of Mom and Dad really tries to put its viewers right into the middle of everything. Offering both the perspective of the children as well as the adults that are involved in the insanity that’s unfolding, I personally think that this film would have definitely fared much better had it included the surround channels. There really weren’t any elements that would have benefited from the inclusion of the elevation channels; but, with the surround channels, it really would have done a much better job with its immersive presentation. Other than that, the dialogue was clean and clear and everybody was able to be heard and understood. The musical accompaniment perfectly fit the overall tone of each sequence as it progressed and didn’t really overpower the speaking parts in any capacity.
The Packaging (2.5/5):
The Blu-ray release of Mom and Dad comes packaged in your standard double-disc Blu-ray amaray case. Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy of the film as well as the standard DVD copy. The Blu-ray disc features a piece of artwork that is relevant to the film and completely different from that of the case art while the DVD features the same piece of art that’s featured on the case. There is no digital copy redemption pamphlet included, but there is a slipcover that’s been included during the original pressing that features the same piece of art that’s provided on the case art.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included on the Blu-ray release of Mom and Dad. As a result, there is no rating for this section.
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Original Film: 83 minutes
Overall, I found Mom and Dad to be quite the fun experience. Given the fact that the adults are all of a sudden trying to kill their children as the result of some random tone they heard, it was rather interesting to see the insanity unfold in a variety of ways. That said, I would have loved to have been able to learn more about the questionable tone that was played, whether it be origin or exactly what it was that was triggered in the adults to make them go crazy like this. The visual and audible presentation of the Blu-ray was really good, but could have been improved had they included some more ambient lighting in the darker sequences and gone with a 7.1 audio track. The release does not include any special features at all, which is quite the disappointment. If you’re considering checking this film out, I would definitely recommend giving it a shot; especially since it is currently available for an extremely reasonable price.