Friday, February 3, 2012

Parents. C+


I encourage any fan of horror films to see Parents, first, to see why it doesn't quite work, and second, to see that it actually comes pretty close to being great. The film has one of the great plots in all the horror genre: a young boy, living in 1950s suburbia, comes to suspect that his parents are cannibals. Some may take offense at such a premise, but as I stated with Orphan, a horror movie doesn't really have limits. For, as many know from Roger Ebert, it's not what a movie is about, but how it's about it. Parents does a tremendous job of executing genuine thrills and making two typical old fashioned parents so creepy. Who knew that Eddie from Christmas Vacation could be so terrifying? As I was watching the movie, I was thinking I would see something I would never forget. Well, I probably will never forget it, but not because it's a particularly good movie. There's a really strange girl in the film who is a classmate and friend of the young boy (who also happens to be pretty weird). I'm not sure what her presence was for, and I'm also not sure why the boy wasn't a little more normal. I think the film would have been a bit more effective that way. To have something quite normal and put against something truly terrifying is more effective than to have two unusual things facing off. Another problem, and this I think is what keeps Parents off the slate of genuine horror classics, is that it never finds the right tone. It never settles on being a comedy (which it could have been) or a straight up horror movie. Instead it awkwardly balances between the two, and the result is that it never quite knows what it wants to be. This is common in movies, but here it's particularly problematic because the premise is built to be dead on-either comedy or horror. Yet despite this, Parents seems to be the kind of classic that Orphan is (or at least will become). The kind where you say, disturbed, are you serious? and then think, I guess that was pretty awesome.

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