Mum & Dad (2008)

DVD Cover (Revolver Entertainment)
Steven Sheil Steven Sheil
Perry Benson Perry Benson
Dido Miles Dido Miles
Olga Fedori Olga Fedori
Ainsley Howard Ainsley Howard
Toby Alexander Toby Alexander

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Sadistic Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: June 09, 2009
It took longer for me than for most, but I'm starting to get sick of the so-called "torture porn" genre. Now, I love gore and I love some good old-fashioned exploitation sleaze, but there's only so many times that you can watch the "girl gets kidnapped in the first five minutes and then gets tortured for the next eighty-five" shtick before it starts to wear a little thin. That is the problem that I had with Mum & Dad, a film that is perfectly acceptable as a standalone release and will likely win over those of you who haven't tired of the genre... but it's also a film that is content to stick with the same formula that dozens of other movies have used.

The film begins with an introduction to a Polish immigrant named Lena (Olga Fedori), a young lady who is now working at Heathrow Airport. There she meets Birdie (Ainsley Howard) and Elbie (Toby Alexander), a brother-and-sister pair who she quickly befriends. We at home quickly notice that these two scamps are a little odd, but unfortunately for our heroine, this observation is exclusive to those of us watching from our couches.

Lena winds up missing her bus ride home after her shift has ended, and thus, Birdie offers to take Lena home so that her dad can give her a ride back to her place. A friendly offer? Not quite. You see, Lena soon discovers that missing the bus was no accident, and she also discovers that Birdie's mum (Dido Miles) and dad (Perry Benson) are a pair of twisted sadists who use their kids to lure innocent victims into their house. Mum enjoys using a knife to cut on the "daughters" that Birdie brings home, while dad is content to merely hack them to pieces and masturbate with their internal organs; needless to say, Lena is in deep shit regardless of whether she becomes mommy's angel or daddy's girl. There is a way out though: it appears that these two merely want another daughter around the house, and if Lena can convince them that she is willing to take on that role, then maybe, just maybe, she'll survive this ordeal. Will she escape? Can she convince these two that family values are important to her as well and that she truly wants to be their newest daughter?

So, as I mentioned up above, Mum & Dad is not a bad movie in its own right. If you enjoyed the Saw and Hostel series but didn't realize that those films belonged to a much larger genre (the genre lovingly known as torture porn), then you will enjoy watching this family toy with their latest victim. It will provide you with the graphic violence and the torture that you have come to know and love, and you will find that although it goes in a different direction than the aforementioned films, it certainly measures up to them in terms of overall quality.

On the other hand, if you saw those Saw and Hostel movies along with a handful of the imitators, you'll find that Mum & Dad brings nothing new to the table aside from slick gore and surprisingly great performances from the leads. Those two aspects made the film much more enjoyable than it should have been, but are they enough to warrant another trek down the torture porn road for jaded viewers? That is your call, but I can't say that this film revitalized my love for the genre.

Taking a look at the film as a standalone product rather than another entry in a genre, it's admittedly well done. The storyline features all of the staples of the torture porn genre while also introducing the tried and true "psychotic family" angle that films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre made popular. Unlike Massacre, you'll probably never get the feeling that "this could really happen", but it's still an enjoyable affair nonetheless even if it is a bit predictable at this point. Regardless, the film is still technically sound and will provide you with a decent night in front of the tube.

The one thing that does make the film stand out is the performances given, especially those of Dido Miles and Perry Benson as the "loving" parents. These two took their characters and made them memorable through some downright chilling line delivery and mannerisms, and even though they were given characters that could have been laughable if played by actors of lesser talent, they made them work. I was also a fan of Olga Fedori as the heroine in distress, as she was able to make us care for her even though she spends a good deal of the film without the use of her vocal chords. She's not exactly breaking new ground here as, again, this role has been done to death, but she does measure up to the best of them while doing it.

Overall, Mum & Dad is not a bad movie, but fans of the genre - likely the only ones who will have heard of this release - will have seen it all before. It's better than most of the imitators littering store shelves, but at the end of the day, it's still just another imitation. I'm going to go with a 7.5/10 for the film, but feel free to liberally knock points off of that score if you're already sick of torture porn.
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