Mum and Dad

Year: 2008
Production Co: 2am Films
Director: Steven Sheil
Writer: Steven Sheil
Cast: Olga Fedori, Perry Benson, Dido Miles, Ainsley Howard, Toby Alexander

The distinctly British setting, characters and vernacular goes a long way to making this film stand on its own, but I was reminded a fair bit of the dinner scene in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Mum and Dad as a whole can be taken as a similar satire on the middle class family gone wrong.

Immigrant cleaner Lena (Olga Fedori) works at the airport and when she misses her last bus, her spritely and chatty colleague Birdie (Ainsley Howard) offers her a bed for the night as her family lives nearby. It seems like a godsend to Lena but she's barely set foot in the tiny house when she's knocked out, finding herself tied up later in a very atypical horror movie room. There's a tiny bed, blood streaked walls, buzzing fluorescent lighting and a very nasty feeling about her fate hanging in the air.

It turns out Birdie's been scouting for her 'family', her adoptive parents (Perry Benson and Dido Miles) actually serial torturers and killers who kidnap, molest, brutalise and murder teenagers and twentysomethings, and Lena is obviously their latest victim.

She shares the house with Birdie, who's apparently cracked mentally under her treatment and truly believes these two psychopaths love her and that she's their daughter. Birdie's 'brother', the mute Elbie (Toby Alexander), seems much more sympathetic to Lena's cause, and as she tries and fails at various points to lull Mum and Dad into a false sense of security that she's happy to be there and make good her escape, she wondered if Elbie might be convinced to help her.

Narratively there's not a lot to describe, the action moves from one set piece to the next, but they're all scary in themselves and make for an effective and cohesive horror movie all round. Special mention has to go to Perry Benson as Dad, who joins Laurence Harvey (The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence) as being brave enough to play one of cinema's most grotesquely reprehensible characters.

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