EIFF 2008 Review: Mum and Dad

13 Jul

First-time director Steven Sheil should be applauded for not taking the easy way into film making. With Mum and Dad, which premiered at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival, Sheil has shown that he’s not afraid to take risks, even if it does result in the alienation of his audience.

Working as a toilet cleaner at Heathrow airport, Romanian immigrant Olga (Lena Fedori) is soon tempted back to co-worker Birdie’s home, where the concept of family is given a whole new meaning by Mum (Dido Miles) and Dad (Perry Benson). Taken prisoner, Lena is sedated and soon subjected to a shocking series of events that her new “parents” think are normal.

The low-budget feel of the film is perfectly suited to the low-rent household that the characters inhabit, with the time and money spent perfecting the icky sound and visual effects working well to make this enclosed world real.

While the reason for the existence of Mum and Dad’s lair is never explained and the nastiness of the characters does grate at times, Perry Benson overcomes the lack of backstory to provide a gruesome performance.

Mum and Dad has been touted as a satire on the glorification of “family values” and oddly, despite not being a film I’d return to in a hurry, I’d rather watch this than an episode of the BBC “comedy” My Family anyday. The latter is far scarier in its blandness than Mum & Dad is even at its peak of goriness.

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