Before I even get into the full review of this movie I will say immediately that this was, by far, one of the most disturbing and uncomfortable films I have EVER seen. I know, I know: suspense thrillers and shock cinema has more daily releases onto DVD than just about any other genre, but take it from me: find this movie at all costs if you enjoy something so in-your-face horrific that I, the stalwart and nubile horror fan that I am, had to take a break half way through to catch my breath. I hope all of this build-up chatter has really piqued your interest because, as I've already said: it is well worth it.
MUM AND DAD, DIR. AND WRITER: STEVEN SHEIL, 2007 CANNES AWARD WINNER BUT NO WIDE-RELEASE DATE, PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE/THRILLER/HORROR APPROX. 124 MINUTES.
From the very first minute, you just get that nagging feeling that there's got to be something wrong with Chatty-Cathy Birdie (Ainsley Howard) and her mute brother, Elbie (Toby Alexander). They both work at the local airport and do quite a fine job of pilfering offices and desks of items of nominal value. Starting her first day on the job is Lena (Olga Fedori), and she introduces herself as Polish, new to London, on a work visa while she attends University. Birdie and Lena seem to get along quite well at first. AT FIRST. They share stories about their childhoods, where each has lived, and each other's families. They work the overnight, and when the dawn bus arrives to take Lena back to her dorm, Birdie asks her to wait as she heads back inside to retrieve her missing cell phone. But it is all a ruse as Lena is quickly dispatched by an whack to the head.
Soon, Lena wakes on a strange bed with shackles on her arms and legs and doors leading off into unknown directions. A shadowy man exits the room, dripping with perspiration and blood and begins making his way toward a silent and scared Lena. Just then, a kindly and quite defensive matronly figure swoops in and pleads that Lena not scream else she arouse Dad (Perry Benson) and rise his already burning ire. She says she's Mum (Dido Miles) and will do anything to take care of her new 'angel'. Lena obliges and is soon put back under by another injection right to the throat that effectively numbs her voice. Mum and Dad have become, by force, Lena's new parents and, much to her chagrin, intend to keep her locked up, but alive and cared for, as long as she maintains her role and does as she's told... sometimes to the point of being violently disturbing.
And so begins a trainwreck of sadomasochism, murder, gory violence, psychological suspense, and dirty, filthy, reprehensibly parenting. Lena is subjected to one vicious beating after another since she basically refuses to give in to her captors, even going so far as to lull Mom into a false sense safety turning her on Birdie and Elbie -each a captor in their own right, yet far more accustomed to their new lives. The narrative as well as the brutality escalates to such a fever pitch at the near-end, that a 'standard' family Christmas becomes such an absolute horrific farce, complete with a wall-hung Crucifixion, almost completely encompasses the whole movie in a nutshell. I was, needless to say, appalled yet at once intrigued and even brought to a laugh a time or two, but, I have to warn you: this is not a film for the faint of heart by any stretch. If you enjoyed such classic gut-busters as Cannibal Holocaust, this is right up your alley. That's just the kind of nightmare this was. Enjoy!