Dir. Steven Sheil, 2008, UK, 84 mins
Cast: Perry Benson, Dido Miles, Ainsley Howard, Olga Fedori, Toby Alexander
Review by Michelle Moore
The new British horror flick Mum and Dad is one of the most sadistic films I have ever had the misfortune to see on the big screen. If you're a Londoner, the events take place unnervingly close to home in a house near the runways of Heathrow airport and there is more filth, brutality and suburban terror in this movie than I certainly am able to handle. And this comes from someone who is a fanatical fan of horror flicks.
When Polish airport cleaner Lena (Fedori) finds herself stranded after a late night at work, she accepts an offer of help from chirpy colleague Birdie (Howard). What Lena is unaware of is Birdie's sadomasochistic family into which this apparent act of kindness is about to draw her. It's led by a perverse couple, who insist on being called ‘Mum and Dad' who kidnap individuals, torture and usually kill them. They have brainwashed their 'adopted' children Birdie and her so-called silent brother Elbie (Alexander) to play along with their callous game. Lena is imprisoned in their House of Horrors, and her options soon become clear; become part of the family or die.
Mum and Dad is writer/director Steven Sheil's first feature film. It is well made, simply directed and its settings appear to have had a lot of thought put into them. Most of it is based in the house itself, a place of torture chambers and prison like bedrooms, though it also incorporates some homely features reminiscent of your grandparents' living room. While demonstrating a laudable and creative directional ambition in this respect, the action which takes place there is gruesome, stomach-churning and shocking, while the script is full of complete filth.
The cast of five demonstrate remarkable courage in taking part in this film and having their names credited on it. I'm not sure I would be want to associated with a movie that shows people being chopped up and disgusting sexual acts involving freshly cut human flesh. Imagine a large proportioned, vile and aggressive version of Ricky Tomlinson, and you have Perry Benson as the head of this sadistic family and the chief perpetrator of these revolting actions.
At the start of this film there should be a large statement telling us that ‘THIS FILM CONTAINS SCENES WHICH SOME VIEWERS MAY FIND DISTURBING' as there is a very good chance you will depart from the cinema unnerved, revolted and sick to the stomach. The narrative itself is disgusting and uses this, rather than shocking blood scenes, to put its storyline across. Mum and Dad has none of the enjoyment factor of many horror flicks of recent years and the best that can be said of it is that the direction shows some promise.