Jun 2, 2011

Mum & Dad


Using most all of my collective willpower, I had struggled to avoid this British horror film with dread of its contents. Everything about the film rubbed me the wrong way; the teaser poster artwork, the seemingly juvenile minimalism in torture, and even the paunchy lead of 'Dad' - all these played a part in recalculating my course. That is, until, what I had quaked from, happened - Mum & Dad was recommended to me from a source less than trusted but succinct all together. The narrative of Mum & Dad is quite simple; a polish immigrant named Lena works at an airport cleaning with a bubbly and insecure Birdie. This very night, Lena misses her bus ride home (from what we don't realize, an excellent diversion) and is offered a ride home from Birdie, promising that if she accompanies her home, her father can give her a lift home. As obvious as horror can be, once Lena enters the home sweet.. abode and basks in the solitude of silence, no sooner is she hit over the head and fades into obscurity. When awoken, to her horror, Lena discovers the sadistic secret behinds Birdies scars and her brother Elbie's muteness - a pair of possible victims of postpartum depression trapped in a holy communion that kidnaps teenagers and submits them through extreme rehabilitation. When Mum & Dad eventually reaches its peak, and it will, it turns into trite British run-off. The only positive trait the film has that isn't on a superficial level of horror filmmaking (e.g. blood, torture, etc.) is the pair of Mum and Dad; stripped of their flesh - they represent two very different forms of psychosis which really makes for interesting connections. 

As far as the torture featured in Mum & Dad goes, endurable entertainment, but if you happened upon this film in hopes for a feather of storytelling, it will not be found in this film. It doesn't appear to be first-time director Steven Sheil's fault. The film of which he striven to break out into the market is so singularly one-dimensional that the 'ingenuity' behind the title is the high point of imagination. Rubbing against the grain of Stockholm syndrome, Mum & Dad boils down into a teenage race for affection from oppressive, aggressive murderous parents. The ambiguity behind the parents and their purported children is something that can be smiled on in the end. Just know that Mum & Dad's weaknesses lie in the hands of both short-sightedness and ultimately weak filmmaking. One of the most enraging aspects of Mum & Dad is the shoddy symbolism embellished by Sheil. The director decided to blend their airport employment ruse with the visual metaphor of freedom by transitioned almost every single scene with a brief clip of an airplane landing whilst creating a sound vacuum. If your television happens to be very fickle with audio presentation, you'll find that the chatter is presented at a low volume, thus you turn up the dial only to have an airplane clip within 5 minutes near blow your ears. Someone really should create a drinking game out of this aspect of Mum & Dad but I fear it would either lead directly to alcoholism or to the morgue - either of which would be a great method of escaping the tyrannical immature clutches of Mum and Dad.

To put it simply, Mum & Dad cannot find it within itself to look past humiliation and scenes of torture followed by words of comfort. Perhaps in some alternate reality this would be enough to appease my sanctioned taste but not this life, not this world. All this is slapped on top of a wholly unsatisfying presentation. Granted, there are highlights of the film which includes things of which my mind has purged in light of the plane tangent. Nevertheless, what occurs within Mum & Dad isn't something you would need to search out in order to personally critique. It represents that blind horror filmmaking that allows you to select any recent film with torture in the tags and keywords just to wind up at the very same conclusion. Mum & Dad has a somewhat of a happy ending, lord only knows the scars inflicted upon poor Lena will never heal and with her emotional baggage in tow, I doubt she will feel trust in women any time in the near future. Then again, who cares? That happens to be the beauty of shallow fiction - as soon as it is absorbed it can be expunged. I don't hate Mum & Dad. I simply just dislike it. If you ever happen to be in the mood for torture lacking fetishistic qualities then I might offer a very slight nod towards its morose presence on a shelf but other than that, I'd suggest looking elsewhere for quality torture and/or storytelling involving the macabre.



The Hamster "RAMPANT" (as it were) said...

Thats 2 in a row now. mAQ, will you ever learn, will you ever learn. Please let this be the last time OK. By the way, the same thing applys here as with that last piece of British made horse-shit, because if this had been an American made horror film (even PG-13 dog-shit) it would have been quite superb. Oh how i wish i could eradicate the British film industry from the face of the earth, what a nicer place the world would be if it wasn`t being polluted by these accursed piles of British made celluloid garbage.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

mAQ, for more irrefutable evidence (if it were really needed) of what a Dime store joke the British film industry really is just watch any British made film from 1961 completely at random, you`ll immediately see that there is absolutely no difference between that film and the garbage you`ve just been inflicting on yourself, thats right, they haven`t moved on one iota in fifty years. Now compare that to the incredible leaps and bounds forward the American film industry has made during that same period, there really is no comparison. Just another one of the thousands of reasons why you should never waste your time watching another British made film ever again.

Ron Vivventrop said...

This film was really, awfully, bad.