mum and dad

Director: Steven Sheil

Writers: Steven Sheil
Perry Benson - Dad
Dido Miles - Mum
Olga Fedori - Lena
Ainsley Howard - Birdie

Saw this movie at the Leeds Film festival in 2008 as part of the Day of the Dead festival after hearing some early intriguing buzz about a new twisted UK sleazefest.

The story follows a dysfunctional family who live near an airport... we are introduced to them via Birdie who is cleaning and stealing from the airport when she befriends Lena an immigrant looking for a better life.

When Lena misses her bus Birdie invites her back to her house with her near mute (and possibly slow) brother.

So far there's nothing unusual, though there is a growing sense of unease.

Then the movie takes a turn into a much darker, sleazier, place.

The 'family' we are introduced to steal from the airport baggage, filter their findings and fence them. Which you quickly forget about when you discover they also steal waifs and strays, enslave them, torture them and ultimately kill them when they get bored with them... and Lena is their latest 'daughter'.

Each of the children is then tutored by Mum in the ways of the family, ultimately this entails being subjected to escalating levels of torture.

Dad isn't left out and it is clear early on that if the new children cannot be tamed then he takes over... and my is he a little twisted!

In one of the more stomach churning scenes we see Dad clearly masturbating, he finishes and throws down a piece of meat that he's been using as an 'aid' , the camera cuts back to it a moment later and it's oozing a white liquid.

600 people in the cinema exhaled URRGHHH in unison and we knew we were in for something on the edge.

The movie draws heavily from dysfunctional family movies like Texas Chainsaw and Frontiers but perhaps is closest in theme/tone to Wes Cravens Children Under the Stairs - even down to a strong physical resemblance between the Mums.

However it fails to be derivative, cutting its own path searing some truly disturbing (though oddly not particularly violent) scenes into your psyche in the process and ultimately proving that there's still life in the UK Horror scene.

A movie definitely worthy of your attention.

Reviewed by TC


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