One day after work Lena misses her bus home, so she follows her colleague Birdie home. That's what she meets her stepparents. Though it might look like it, they are no ordinary couple at all. Lena is bashed in the back of her head and is kept in the house to become a part of their lovely family, consisting of mum, dad, Birdie, Elbie and the hidden member of the family in the attic.
After a few years of hearing about this movie I figured it was time to give it a shot myself, as I usually enjoy these kinds of films. Though clearly inspired by the Fred and Rose West case, the movie stays far away from the actual story and that's fine. Of course, I would've enjoyed a well-made take on the truth more, but the original story would've required a much longer runtime (I would've wanted bits from the early years as well) and wouldn't be the typical horror movie that "Mum & Dad" is. For better or worse, "Mum & Dad" is merely inspired by the case, and ends up doing what many movies have done before and are destined to try again.
The plot of the movie was never kept a secret. We knew that our lead would end up with a fucked up family and that's pretty much the end of the plot as well. It has a few family elements that makes it a somewhat decent addition to these films, with Birdie and Elbie having been there so long that they actually love the stepparents and try their best to win their affection (well, maybe not always in Elbie's case). Towards the end we are presented with the biological daughter of Dad (we can only assume that she's the biological daughter of Mum). Between the beginning and the end, you kinda know what happens. Lead girl is tortured, lead girl tries to trick them, lead girl tries to escape a few time, and.. I'm not gonna spoil the ending, but let's just say it doesn't give many surprises.
The acting in "Mum & Dad" is actually pretty good. They all have something special in the performances and clearly that's a very important aspect that carries this movie a long way. Perry Benson is a very good as Dad, and more importantly I think Olga Fedori gives a nice touch to Lena. The most interesting part of the Lena character is that she seems to accept what has happened quickly and tries to play along.
The film has been compared to plenty of movies, from "Martyrs" to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", but I think the closest titles that I can think of are "The Girl Next Door" and "The Loved Ones". The first one being a much, much superior take on the hostage/kidnap/tortured kid theme. Even if that one is also fairly standard, it's much more effective. "The Loved Ones" is, on the other hand, a much worse one so I would definitely say you should go for "Mum & Dad" rather than that one. But ultimately I'd recommend "The Girl Next Door" over them both. But it's always good to know some of the other titles in case you dig this type of films.
The thing that makes this film rather forgettable even though it's a decent movie is that it's not disturbing. It has some gross things like cum dripping out of a bloody piece of meat, and not too shabby gore, but it feels too easy-going and almost makes it fun to watch Lena try to get out of the family, and that's not a compliment at all. Even if there are those saying this has some black comedy, it should never put a shadow over the disturbing aspect of it, and sadly that is exactly what is going on here. You might root for Lena, but you never really feel any hate or fear towards the family, and that's why "The Girl Next Door" is so much better. I will still recommend this movie as a pretty good horror film that you could throw into the DVD player on a boring night.