Black October 19: Mum & Dad

October 19, 2009

Oh, this is a brutal one. Over the past few years, as we read about Elizabeth Smart, Elisabeth Fritzl, Natascha Kampusch, Jaycee Lee Dugard and other women who are held captive, a movie like this hits hard, being less about the supernatural and more about the super-real.

This is because it could happen. And watching it is less about escapism and more about documentarianism. Mum & Dad feels like real life — if real life is evil, squalid and dark, and full of fear.

It is not a complicated story. A young woman from Eastern Europe takes a job as a cleaner at an airport in England. On her first night, she is befriended by co-workers, another young woman and her brother, and is invited home after she misses her bus. This brother and sister live with their parents in a house tucked away at the end of the airfield, behind a high fence. Nobody notices this house. Nobody hears what goes on. And nobody knows who sleeps in the attic bedroom.

“I’m Mum.” “And I’m Dad.” Mum and Dad are not very nice.

This is a fast, harsh film about the atrocities of humanity. I did not expect to like it, but I did, despite its subject matter. It buries its hope, but the hope is there, and the eventual message emerges from a movie that could have been garbage (see the film Captivity as an example) yet is not. It’s an effective little movie that dances around its financial shortcomings and succeeds as a rare example of true horror.

  • October is horror movie month at the Weather Station. I’m going through my DVDs and reviewing a film a day.

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