Eye For Film >> Movies >> Mum And Dad (2008) Film Review
In the name of all that is good and holy, if you have any real taboos about what you'll watch on film, please move on to the next review. With the resultant spoiler alert, one of the first images we see of Dad is him masturbating using some freshly cut human flesh as lubricant, with the resultant liquid oozing through the fleshy orifice. Oh, good - you're still here. In spite of a script punctuated by sheer filth (a gruesomely unwashed lavatory is one of the film's opening images), writer/director Steven Sheil demonstrates considerable storytelling talent in this, his first feature.
After missing the final bus home, young Polish airport cleaner Lena (Olga Fedori) is invited back to her co-workers Birdie and Elbie's family home. One swift incapacitating injection later, and she's tied up and invited (read: forced) to be part of a family wherein dysfunction would be, by an order of magnitude, an improvement. The family are a bunch of murdering psychopaths, scavenging from cargo holds and annihilating all that might change this social order. Mum (Dido Miles) is a brutal and insidious torturer, coolly enjoying dishing out "war wounds" with the tools of self-harmers everywhere. Dad (Perry Benson - also starring in Shane Meadows' Somers Town) is a sick, perverted sadist - when catching Elbie masturbating furiously through Lena's room keyhole, he commands him to "Finish it!". He enforces strict discipline, not with an iron rod, but with hooks, chains and blood-dripping machetes.
The film is a savage deconstruction of Thatcherite beliefs in family, from a base of early Eighties working-class Britishness. The art direction is simple and the set features the kind of furniture and ornaments I remember my grandparents having 20 years ago. This simple authenticity lends credence to the belief that these savage murderers live among us. They make efforts to uphold simple respectability, all the while chopping up vagrants and tourists alike for their valuables.
This is a delicious satire on the near and present belief in respectability and family values that disguises so much cruelty and props up so many empty politicians. Without all the flaying spittle on offer with every single "fucking" uttered, the film's lines could almost be stolen wholesale from EastEnders. Mum and Dad speak the language of parents dealing with naughty children, which makes their acts all the more horrifying.
Enough of the politics. The film is well-made, photographed and lit clearly and professionally. It has a clear and skillful rein on its story. And it works well as a late night slice of nastiness. Not a great movie, but a perfectly good one which uses disgust rather than true horror for much of its effect.Reviewed on: 21 Jun 2008
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