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Film / Mom and Dad

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Mom and Dad is a horror comedy film written and directed by Brian Taylor (Crank, Crank: High Voltage) and starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair. The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and had a wide release on January 19, 2018.

A teenage girl, Carly Ryan and her brother Josh must survive for 24 hours when a wild hysteria with an unknown cause causes parents to turn on their own kids, including the two kids' parents, Brent (Cage) and Kendall (Blair).

No connection to 1940s Exploitation Film Mom and Dad, nor the similarly titled 2008 British horror film Mum & Dad.

Mom and Dad contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • The plot is based around all parents in the world becoming this.
    • Damon's father was this before the crisis started and only got worse from there.
  • Aerith and Bob: Kendall and Brent; lampshaded by Brent's mother who claims that Kendall "isn't a real name."
  • As Himself: Mehmet "Dr." Oz appears in the film in this fashion.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Riley has zero redeeming qualities and is Too Dumb to Live to boot.
    • Damon's father was an abusive alcoholic before the crisis started.
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  • Ax-Crazy: Any parent in physical proximity of their offspring upon being affected by the signal.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Damon, twice.
    • Darkly subverted when Brent's parents show up during the climax as Brent and Kendall are trying to kill Carly and Josh. However, they're only there to kill Brent, not rescue the children.
  • Big Sister Instinct: After she realizes what is happening with the parents killing their own children, Carly immediately heads home to save her little brother.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Damon is the first prominent character to be attacked by his parent and survives. He survives the entire film.
  • Blood from the Mouth: This happens with Damon when Brent slams his head onto the floor.
  • Bloodless Carnage: A minor instance occurs with Brent getting repeatedly stabbed in the leg by his father, and no blood is visible on the knife. This is especially odd as the film is R-rated.
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  • The Cameo: Grant Morrison appears as an expert in the film.
  • Chekhov's Gag: It's mentioned very early on that Brent's parents are coming over for dinner. With all the madness, everyone—watchers included—forgets about it until the doorbell rings with perfect timing.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • We see glances of Brent's family heirloom muscle car throughout the film. Naturally, it's just a matter of time before it gets involved in some Car Fu.
    • The toy truck that Josh leaves lying on the floor trips Brent when the action starts and leaves him incapacitated for quite some time.
  • The Chew Toy: Damon takes by far the most physical abuse of any character in the film, getting slashed with broken glass, beaten unconscious, thrown off a balcony, and impaled through his cheeks with a coat hanger.
  • Creepy Child: Flashbacks show Josh keeping a dying animal in a box inside his father's prized muscle car, and another shows him playing with a loaded gun he found under his parents bed.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the trailer:
    Brent: (while destroying a pool table with a hammer) OH, YEAH! You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out, you do the hokey-pokey, and you — (Sound-Effect Bleep)
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • After Sun-Yi kills her daughter, Carly and Damon find her nonchalantly cleaning up all the blood.
    • Just after strangling her daughter, Riley's mom cheerfully says "Hey, kiddo." to Carly.
    • Brent's dad cheerfully greets Josh after repeatedly stabbing Brent in the stomach in front of him.
    • Much of the film's humor comes from the fact that the signal doesn't overwrite the parent's personality completely. To quote the AV Club review, "we're not watching mindless ghouls but the same two people [as before], just suddenly preoccupied with butchering their young".
  • Dumb Blonde: Subverted with Carly who sets up a trap to inconvenience her parents after the latter fill the basement with gas to make her and Josh pass out. Played straight with her drug taking friend Riley.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Brent's mother sprays mace into Brent's eyes before entering the house.
    • Later, Kendall sprays that same mace into Brent's mother's eyes before hitting her with the meat tenderizer.
  • From Bad to Worse: Everyone across the country being suddenly driven to violently attack their offspring doesn't mean only adults attacking children, as Brent and Kendall find out when Brent's parents show up for dinner...
  • Gory Discretion Shot: None of the children's deaths are showed onscreen, except for Riley.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: According to a radio broadcast, the situation in the film is the result of some kind of attack, making the mysterious attacker(s) this.
  • Hate Plague: The film is predicated on one that causes parents to want to murder their children. An unusual example, since the signal causes the parents to try and kill their children and only their children; they're perfectly normal when interacting with anyone else.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Kendall and Brent attempt to make their children pass out by pumping gas into the basement. However, Carly rigs a trap that will ignite the gas the moment the kids' parents open the door. It works when they attempt to enter the basement, blowing them backwards.
    • Kendall sprays Brent's mother's own can of mace into her eyes.
  • Hope Spot: At the end of the film, it appears as if Brent and Kendall have recovered from the effects of the signal... only for it to take effect again and for them to start struggling violently against their restraints.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kendall scolds Brent for keeping a gun in the house, stating how dangerous it is to have around children, while they are attempting to lure their children out to kill them.
  • Infant Immortality: Given that the entire premise of the film is parents murdering their children, it gets averted pretty fast. Only to get played surprisingly straight when Kendall saves her newborn niece from the infant's crazed mother.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Brent sings "Hokey Pokey" while destroying a pool table in a flashback.
  • Large Ham: Brent, in true Nicolas Cage fashion. See the quote under Curse Cut Short above for just one instance.
  • Made of Iron: Damon has to be in order to survive everything he went through and still be able to walk!
  • Madness Mantra: "Sawzall... SAWS ALL!"
  • Meaningful Background Event: While Josh is running around playing, Sun-Yi can be seen to be getting affected by the signal that causes parents to kill their own children.
  • Mood Whiplash: A double case. A scene where Josh puts a dying animal in the family vehicle sharply cuts to a scene where Josh witnesses Sun-Yi brutally murdering her daughter offscreen, then cuts again to show Kendall in a workout class with upbeat music.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The Curse Cut Short moment above is made to look like Brent is trying to get the kids to come out from under something in the trailer, but in the film itself, he's just destroying a pool table out of frustration in a flashback.
  • No Ending: Carly, Josh, and Damon have the parents tied up for the time being, but have no idea how to proceed from there, and they still have no idea what caused the crisis and when or if the effect will ever wear off, and then the film just ends in mid-sentence.
  • Offing the Offspring: Brent and Kendall attempt to murder their own children while under the effect of the hysteria, and the indication is that this is also the case with other affected parents. This isn't limited to adults attacking kids either. The elderly attack their adult children as well.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Damon's dad not only does it, but does it while drunk!
  • Our Zombies Are Different: People are driven to relentlessly attack and kill their own biological offspring, but only them. They are capable of formulating plans and setting traps in order to do so, but always seem to wind up just flailing at them and savaging them like Hate Plague zombies.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: In the beginning, Carly says that Kendall and Brent's mother spend their time "passive-aggressive bitching at each other" whenever the kids' grandparents come over to visit.
  • Pop-Up Texting: While Kendall is driving, Carly is checking out her social media, and the texts she exchanges are shown in this manner.
  • Rich Bitch: Riley and her mother.
  • Rule of Scary: We never discover what caused the outbreak or if there is even a cure for it. The film only focuses on Carly and Josh trying to survive while their parents are infected by the widespread virus.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Brent kills both his parents in the climax.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snowy Screen of Death: One of these is prominently featured every time a parent is about to kill their own children, except in Brent's case.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Given the film's Black Comedy nature, this is a given.
    • Riley getting strangled by her mom happens with soft, gentle music playing over it.
    • Kendall's sister attempting to kill her newborn child is done to the tune of "It Must Have Been Love".
    • Brent's father attempting to kill him has "Chains of Love" playing over it. Justified, as the song was playing on the car's radio when Josh turned it on.
  • Stepford Smiler: Both Brent and Kendall. They seem like normal suburban parents, but through flashbacks it becomes obvious how unsatisfied they are with their lives and how much they resent their children.
  • Title Drop:
    • In a flashback:
    Brent: I used to be Brent, and you used to be Kendall, and now we're just... Mom and Dad.
    • A Tagline Drop almost occurs in the last line of the film:
    Brent: But sometimes we... sometimes we... just want to...
    (cut to credits)
  • Too Dumb to Live: Two cases with Riley:
    • Subverted in one instance when she puts her hand into a blender to taste the residue, with creepy music playing. However, nothing happens.
    • Played straight later when she goes up the stairs of her home without listening to Carly's warnings. Her own mother then strangles her to death while under the signal's effect.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: The opening has Carly steal money from her mother's purse so Riley can buy drugs.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer gives away that Brent's parents show up at Brent's house, which plays a big part in the climax.
  • When Elders Attack: The film's climax has Brent's elderly parents show up to try and kill him.


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