I saw this movie a few years ago and remembered hating it- thinking it cheap and uninspired. But recently I was surfing around YouTube videos for lists of disturbing films and found that Mum & Dad was near the top of many people’s lists. Since I didn’t remember much about the plot, I wanted to give it a second chance. I thought maybe I originally saw it on an edited movie channel, so I made sure I found an uncut version. There definitely have been a few films I appreciated more (or less in some cases) upon second viewing and I hoped I would like this better the second time around. I cleared my head of all my original contempt for this film and went in with an open mind.
The first thirty minutes of this British film is actually pretty decent as we are introduced to the characters and the plot unfolds. Lena is a quiet young lady who has just begun working the night shift at the airport. She is a loner and doesn’t have any family which makes her the perfect target for Birdie. Birdie is a chatty, if not annoying girl, who shows Lena the ropes and invites her back to her home where she lives with Mum, Dad, and brother Elbie. Lena immediately senses danger but she is quickly tied up by the family as they begin to torture her.
We delve deeper into these personalities through moments of perversion as we realize Mum gets pleasure from inflicting pain, Elbie masturbates while watching the torture through a peephole, and Dad likes to masturbate into raw and bloody meat (and probably not the kind you buy at the store either). Dad kind of reminds me of Martin from Human Centipede II, which I certainly don’t mind as it adds to the depravity of the film as a whole. Oh, and they like to watch porn as a family around the breakfast table. Lena is now being forced to be a part of this sick and morally corrupt family.
The one thing that irked me the entire film was the reasoning behind their actions. Why are they doing this? Why do they kill so many people and save the body parts? Why have Mum & Dad brought these teens into their home to raise them as their own? What’s the point? I kept hoping for some good answer… actually any answer would be fine. It doesn’t need to be logical, just something interesting. Motives drive characters forward and all of these characters seem to float around aimlessly and without meaning.
As my annoyance sets in, the second half of the film drops off into nowhere land. Birdie is especially annoying with that awful, high-pitched, British accent. The perversion, cruelty, and torture that all seems so shocking at first, ultimately ends up being ridiculous and useless. The film does have a bleakness to it, but that doesn’t make it a good film. I feel like it was trying to be creepy and campy and kept missing the mark. I think horror fans should definitely watch this at least once, but I would never recommend it as a good movie to visit over and over again. One of the YouTube videos I watched named this one in the top 20 out of 65 of the most disturbing films. See the video here. He definitely has a solid list, but I am so surprised that this one would be on the top of any kind of list, unless it was “the most disappointing list” or “films with missed potential list.”
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