A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mom and Dad is a darkly funny horror movie in which parents (Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage) suddenly start trying to kill their children, with no explanation. Frequent over-the-top violence includes lots of gory murder scenes. Teens are killed by adults in various ways: smothering, stabbing, strangling, etc. A child brandishes a gun and shoots his mother in the shoulder, and a new mom tries to squeeze the life from her newborn child. Various weapons are used, from a cordless saw to a meat hammer. There's also a gas explosion, a car crash, and lots more. Language is extreme, with constant uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," and much more. A topless woman is shown, a yoga instructor ogles his students, and there are graphic sexual references. A teen buys a bag of pills and smokes pot; adult characters drink alcohol. The movie definitely isn't for every taste, but it's briskly paced and has plenty of crazy surprises.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In MOM AND DAD, for no reason that's ever explained, parents in a suburban community suddenly turn on their children and try to kill them. Teen Carly Ryan (Anne Winters) is already at a difficult stage and no longer communicates with her parents, Kendall (Selma Blair) and Brent (Nicolas Cage). She steals money from her mom's purse to buy drugs for a friend, and her dad hates her boyfriend, Damon (Robert T. Cunningham). When murderous parents show up at school, Carly and Damon head to her house to rescue her little brother, Josh (Zackary Arthur). Unfortunately, Damon is knocked cold, and Carly and Josh wind up trapped in the basement. Working together, their relentless parents keep coming up with more and more homicidal plans. But this strange day isn't over yet.
Is it any good?
Written and directed by Brian Taylor (Crank and Crank: High Voltage), this nimble, kinetic, ultra-dark horror-comedy rampages through its gleefully wicked story without overwhelming its characters. Mom and Dad offers up another banshee-like, over-the-top performance from Cage (with whom Taylor worked on Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), but this time it's rooted in a kind of real pain and regret. The same goes for the always-great Blair, as a mom whose motherhood didn't turn out the way she'd hoped. The movie uses crafty flashbacks to earlier times to illustrate and deepen the relationships between the family members.
But in the end, this is a breakneck-paced, out-of-left-field horror movie, and it doesn't hold back in the slightest on its brutal concept. It's not for viewers who don't have a high tolerance for shocking gore. Some will definitely think it crosses the line from time to time -- as when a new mother starts to squeeze the life from her newborn baby -- but mostly it stays in the realm of dark humor. It cheerfully brings meat hammers, wire hangers, and a Sawzall (a cordless reciprocating saw) into its relentless game, but it also occasionally holds back, just a little, for effect. Many darkly funny little surprises keep the movie revved up right until its final moments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Mom and Dad's use of violence. Does the fact that it's over-the-top in a darkly comical way make it seem any less brutal? Why or why not? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Is the movie scary? What makes it a horror movie? How does it compare to other horror movies you've seen?
Where do you think the idea for this movie came from? Do you think it might be based on any unspoken fears or fantasies? Or is it completely out of left field?
- In theaters: January 19, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: February 20, 2018
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters
- Director: Brian Taylor
- Studio: Momentum Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing horror violence, language throughout, some sexual content/nudity and teen drug use