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What better way to start the new year than with a gritty British horror
flick. New horror talent is rising everywhere and the Brits can't lag
behind. Not that they can keep up with the best, but they manage to
uphold a good standard of dirty and raw horror flicks. Enter Mum & Dad.
Horror films come in all different sizes and flavors. Gore, ghosts, werewolves, suspense, torture and whatnot. Sheil's Mum & Dad is a little different though. Rather than hit the audience with full-frontal ugliness it gambles on weirdness and plays the freak card. While some might call it another variation on the crazy family theme, it holds more in common with a film like Killers (or Real Killers, as it is also known) than it does with the Chainsaw Massacre or Rob Zombie flicks.
One thing about horror flicks is that you can often derive a lot from the title of the film. The cooler and tougher it sounds, the softer it usually is. And so you have to admit, Mum & Dad leaves a good solid base for some slick and freaky horror fun. Central to the film are both characters referenced in the title. Mum and dad might look like ordinary people from the outside, they certainly are a little different from your regular household setup.
The fun starts when one of their children drags in a Polish immigrant girl who gets "integrated" into the family. It quickly starts to dawn that mum and dad are not as ordinary as they seemed at first and off you go for a good 60 minutes of weirdness. Much like Calvaire, the film plays on equal levels of awkwardness, grit and humor which makes for a pretty compelling viewing. As much as you are repulsed, there's always some mad streak that sports a dark grin.
The film is obviously a low budget affair and even though Sheil does his best to conceal this fact, from time to time it does look its budget. Visually there are interesting shots and sequences but the overall effect remains pretty inconsistent, with some rather amateurish shots in between. Same goes for the soundtrack of the film. Some dark ambient background music and good use of sound effects, but it never really gels into an audiovisual trip.
Luckily mom and dad themselves make the film a pleasure to watch. Their appearance alone, especially dad's, gives the film a pretty twisted feel. Fat English accents and an overly greasy facade only add more flair to the family. Both daughter and son are nice additions too, adding their share of weirdness to the whole setup.
While the level of gore is not noteworthy the film is pretty damn filthy in its own right. The creepiness of the family creates a bigger punch for what is actually shown on screen. On the other hand, the film never loses its touch of humor, keeping it clear from the realm of films like Martyrs. Add some nicely built up tension near the end and what you have is a pretty neat little horror flick that is sure to entertain and repulse at the same time.
Mum & Dad is not as good as any of its influences as Sheil's style is a little less refined. Still, there is potential aplenty and if the idea of a mellowed down mix between Calvaire and Martyrs appeals to you this is definitely a film worth watching. 4.0*/5.0*
I saw a preview of Mum and Dad at this year's Frightfest in Leicester Square and what a treat it was. Whether a full uncut version will ever reach screens big or small I wouldn't like to say. This was an uncompromising, grim and dark piece of film-making which set itself apart from certain other films at the festival by doing what only the Brit's can do, which is carve a darkly comic streak throughout the film. Not the comic whimsy of Shaun of the Dead, but that most unsettling sort which finds you laughing with the anti-heroes and their macabre family set-up, questioning your own scruples. Considering the budget those involved have proved you don't need to hurl money at a project to make a truly disturbing and gripping film. Excellent sound design and direction give the film the sense of a much bigger budget project. I'm not one to give away too much in a review, I like to go in blind if at all possible so I won't spoil any of the grim details, however this film has some truly gruesome moments which add impact to the already ominous and unsettling context. All I will say is see for yourself, but maybe hold-fire on dinner 'til you get out of the theatre. An excellent feature, especially as a Directorial debut and considering the micro-budget (I believe it was made for £100,000) Impressive stuff, disturbing, funny and utterly disgusting.
I recently saw Mum & Dad at UK's FrightFest festival, and have to say
it blew me away as being one of the best, most balls-out British horror
films in years.
The cast are all uniformly excellent (with Ainsley as Birdie and Perry as Dad being particularly brilliant), and the well-written script is full of very dark humour. Imagine The Royle Family meets The People Under The Stairs as interpreted by Mike Leigh.
The film is brilliantly directed by Steven Sheil for it's reported £100k budget limitation, and there are several classic scenes - the best being the nightmarish Christmas party which will bring uncomfortable laughter to anyone who has experienced a 'traditional British family Christmas' (although how can you also forget the scene where Dad pleasures himself with a piece of flesh!).
A genuinely solid shocker - I hope that Mum & Dad gets the release it deserves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this ensemble piece, despite what has been previously posted the performances were good( newcomer included)as strange dysfunctional 'family'. Perry Benson( Dad) seems have relished in seedy elements of his character, and Dido (Mum)plays it with just enough detachment to make really creepy. As for character of "Birdy", she is just so evil & manipulative .. Oh she reminders of my older sister. Do think some of nuisances will only appreciated by a British audience(especially with regards a Christmas scene) or someone who has been stuck in an after it closes. Seek it out if you like your horror served with a wry smile.
'Mum & Dad' director Steven Sheil cites Pete Walker's 'Frightmare' and Freddie Francis' 'Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girlie' amongst his influences, but this darkly horrific, savagely funny and disturbing debut is a far cry from Walker and Francis' visions. With a constant soundtrack of jumbo jets screaming overhead and an almost religious zeal for making even the most mundane of British customs (cups of tea, Christmas sherry, fried breakfasts) seem perverted and wrong, 'Mum & Dad' stands out amongst the usual horror fare of good-looking teens being bumped off. In fact, despite wearing it's influences (most notably Tobe Hooper's 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre') on its sleeve, the film manages to conjure up a unique atmosphere of brutality and disgust that stays with you long afterwards. Great performances all round and great production values despite the limited budget. Terrific, edgy film-making.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is not doubt that we are watching a highly dysfunctional family
when Dad (Perry Benson) comes out of the room with a pick dripping
blood and we see a body behind him. Mum (Dido Miles) is coming over to
Lena (Olga Fedori), who has been abducted, telling her that she needs
to calm him down.
When she goes into dad's "workshop," he is masturbating in a organ - liver or kidney. Dad is a really strange bugger and you do not want to get on his wrong side.
She keeps trying to escape unsuccessfully, and Birdie (Ainsley Howard) seems to take a perverse pleasure in her pain.
It's never really gory, just really creepy and perverse. The Christmas celebration was way over the top and will undoubtedly upset traditionalists. It certainly wasn't a Martha Stewart decoration on the wall.
The brother Elbie (Toby Alexander) was just an unwilling participant, and took the first opportunity to end the misery of another sister, who was only brought out at Christmas.
Similar to The People Under the Stairs, it is a worthwhile indy horror treat.
Loosely inspired by Fred and Rosemary West sick murderous activity "Mum and Dad" doesn't disappoint when it comes to brutality.Mum and Dad and their 'adopted' children,Birdie & Elbie,work at the airport.The family live off whatever they scavenge from cargo holds,offices and hotels - including a steady stream of transient workers who populate the airport's soulless hub.When Lena,a young Polish office cleaner,is befriended by Birdie,she gets drawn into a nightmarish world of torture,murder and perversity.Imprisoned in a suburban House of Horrors and designated a 'Mummy's Girl',Lena's only options appear to be to become part of the family-and join them in their insanity-or die painful death.The film despite its general misanthrophy and unsettling violence plays like a black comedy.It certainly has plenty of humorous moments to relieve the tension.It's quite disturbing and torture-laden too.8 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have just returned from a screening of this film, perhaps badly chosen on boxing day evening after a lovely family day out. I have to say that for the first time in my life I walked out halfway through this film, at the point where 'dad' tells a terrified Lena about the birth of his severely lacerated,vomit-covered disabled, incest-born daughter (shortly after the film suggests that both the mother and father have been ritually raping her). Don't misunderstand me: I think the film was well made, competently acted and extremely impressive in terms of the small budget. I don't scare easily, have a healthy sense of humour and have always thought Mary Whitehouse was a parade-pissing old cow. I have never seen anything that I deemed worthy of censoring until tonight. My problem with this film is that rather than turning the traditional British family on it's head, is that it all too brazenly reflects some all too close to home truths. With headlines in all our papers about Baby P, Fritzl etc this film is far from darkly comic. I stopped laughing when i started to think how easily this could be a very real scenario in the homes of Fred and Rosemary West, perhaps Myra Hindley and Ian Brady? If you haven't seen this film yet, maybe while you watch it you can imagine that right now something very similar is occurring in a number of bungalows across the country, in hidden rooms, behind net curtains.
I'm somewhat of a glutton for punishment, when it comes to UK horror
films. I keep trying them, hoping for something half decent, and more
times than not I eject the disc before the 40 minute mark of the DVD,
dejected and disappointed.
This film started off a little slow, not really giving anything away, which kept me watching to see what the hook was. I wasn't disappointed at all.
The acting, in my opinion was quite good, although I'm no expert on such things, the characters were believable. The script was good enough to keep my attention to the end of the film, which I have to admit doesn't happen a lot these days.
I'm not really sure I'd class the film as a horror, in the truest sense of the word, but it was certainly dark, with a good mix of humour thrown in. Some very unnerving moments (I won't spoil anything), really sold by the actors involved, often without dialogue.
I would certainly recommend you give it a try.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Where do you start to explain/review a film like this? A friend recommend it to me as he knows i like good horror movies, I'm not the kind of person who likes to watch gore, i watch horror films to be horrified by what I'm watching and there is not many films that can do this so i looked into the film a bit before watching it and found mixed reviews. Some people say its a boring rip off of hostel but some people wrote that it was very disturbing which interested me. I managed to get hold of a copy and watched it on my own and i can honestly say it has to be one of the most disturbing films I've ever watched. Its not what happens on screen that shocks you, its knowing that this kind of thing actually happens on our door step. I live in the UK and knowing that Fred west, Mira hindley, baby p and god knows what else has happened and is still happening, its just horrible to watch. I read that this film is a black comedy, at no point did i even have a slight grin on my face watching this film. It is slightly over the top at points but the grim reality of abuse is there and the ending is just amazing. Ill give it 9 out of 10 because its the first film in years thats actually shocked me, horrified me and made me look away at certain points. I would not recommend cuddling up to the Mrs and watching this, its sick but opens your eyes
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