By Brett Mullins
Directed by Bob Balaban; Written by Christopher Hawthorne
Many of today’s films that are made from a child’s prospective play like a Walt Disney adaptation and willfully omit the dark elements found throughout the original Grimm Brother’s stories and other such didactic tales. For children, the world can occasionally appear dark and mysterious when dealing with unfamiliar ideas. Bob Balaban’s Parents explores this prospective from a surrealist and disturbing point of view.
Michael is the typical introverted youngster that recently moved to a new area in 1950’s suburbia. As Michael meets new people, he begins to question the world around him, beginning with his parents.
The style of this film evokes two thoughts: this is an independent film that truly lives up to its branding as such; and this is going to be a dark journey. Randy Quaid does an extraordinary job portraying Michael’s passive aggressive and creepy father. Quaid’s performance combined with the rest of the cast forge quite the dark and threatening atmosphere.
The only downside of the film is that the plot lags a bit in the middle and leaves the audience in the dark. Though the conclusion more than justifies this, the audience is led to doubt the film a bit, despite all of the other positive signs.
Parents is certainly a different type of horror film, somewhere between surreal and black comedy.