Living in a dilapidated house at the edge of Heathrow airport, the family scavenge anything they can find from their work as office cleaners and cargo holders. Hoping to earn Mum’s affection, Birdie invites lonely Polish worker Lena back home when she misses her bus after a late night shift. Once inside, however, Lena soon finds herself in a house of horrors where Mum and Dad play out sick games of torture and murder. Mum’s after a new playmate, and wants Lena as her ‘Mummy’s girl’, but the jealous Birdie will stop at nothing to keep in Mum’s favour and plots to keep Lena bound and gagged. Meanwhile, Dad can’t wait for Mum to tire of Lena, so he can get his murderous hands on her. Lena’s only option is to become part of the family. But how far will she go?
Inspired by the real-life exploits of Fred and Rosemary West, Steven Sheil’s disturbing directorial debut may come across as grim, nasty and just another example of torture porn – but low-budget British horror film Mum and Dad wins points for its dark humour and satirical take on suburban morals. And unlike the current wave of indie-horrors from the US, the story is inventive, the characters are well conceived, the gore is not overdone, and the acting is excellent. Top marks go to Dido Miles, who plays the brilliantly creepy Mum. Not since Bette Davis in 1968’s The Anniversary have I seen such a deliciously mad performance.
Mum & Dad goes on general release on Boxing Day and is the first ever UK film release to appear in cinemas while at the same time being available on DVD, Sky Box Office & FilmFlex.