Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mum & Dad

I know this sentiment isn't unique in the slightest when it comes to the type of movies I'm writing about in this here Plumbing the Depths extravaganza, but it's still a fact that Mum & Dad is fucking weird.

To start with, it's produced by the BBC, which I would have assumed (before I watched it) meant there would be some semblance of, I don't know, class?  Shame on me for assuming.  It was also partially financed by the UK Lottery, which I find hilarious.  Can you imagine if some proceeds from the California Lottery were used to finance films and something like Mum & Dad was the result?  Fox News would be milking that shit for months.

I guess I should say before I go any further that I actually ended up not hating this movie - it's just seriously nasty. One scene in particular is arguably unprecedented in its degeneracy. I guess it's almost refreshing to see something, uh, new that can provoke a wave of disgust.

Lena is a young woman from Poland who takes a job as a custodian at a British airport. Her co-worker Birdie appears to be helpful, if not particularly pleasant to hang out with over the course of an entire shift.  However, things go south post haste when Lena goes home with Birdie and her mute "adopted brother" Elbie and becomes the hostage of the titular parental units.

Mum is a sadist who enjoys cutting and piercing her victims. Lena is renamed Angel and has something injected in her throat that makes her unable to speak or scream. Birdie is a sycophant who attacks Lena in order to reinforce her position in this batshit family. But the king of the castle is Dad. He is an amazingly fucked up individual. He screams and curses constantly and is used as the ultimate threat by Mum to keep Lena in line. It's a memorably bugged out household to be sure:there's porno playing on TV at the breakfast table, Elbie seems to be constantly disposing of plastic parcels of human body parts, and Dad is either reading his newspaper, yelling at everybody, or fucking or murdering something or someone.

The family lives "just at the end of the runway" and supposedly Dad works as a cargo agent. Birdie and Elbie also work at the airport, and all of them bring stolen things home to bolster their finances. This works well enough, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it seemed pretty unbelievable. Yeah, I know, but still. This movie is from 2008. Surely airport security doesn't suck that bad...but whatever, suspension of disbelief, I know.

This movie is crude and nihilistic. I suppose it could be considered a comedy. If so, it's pretty dark for such a thing. It certainly pays homage to my favorite horror movie : The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The Christmas scene (when the entire family is assembled) and the final shot certainly make that clear.

Mum & Dad isn't breaking any new ground, other than finding a disgusting new wrinkle or two. It's been called a "British Hostel", which is a bit of a stretch but somewhat understandable. In my opinion, it wasn't bad. Socially redeeming, though?  That's for you to decide.

Tomorrow: Combat Shock

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