I’ve always been a fan of a good suspenseful mystery type film, especially in a horror setting. It may not be a large sub genre, but the “Are they or aren’t they” murderers/cannibals film intrigues me. Bonus points for being a period piece, which really kind of narrows the genre even more.
“Parents” is set in the 1950s and involves a family who recently moved to a new town, along with all of their “leftovers”. Their son suffers from intense nightmares and begins to think that all is not quite as it seems. Are his parents cannibals, or is he just an imaginative little boy ?
The film stars Randy Quaid and several other people I’d never heard of. One of the girls was in “976-Evil” before this, then did one last film before (presumably) being eaten by the movie industry. Quaid does a good job balancing a caring tone with a menacing one, though I often think of him as the alcoholic father in “Not Another Teen Movie”.
Interestingly, “Parents” was directed by actor Bob Balaban, co-star of recent Horrorthon entry “Altered States”. This was his first non-TV movie, and he brings a good directorial flair to the proceedings. The tone, music and cars all evoke the 50s nicely and really play to the stories strengths.
Based on the poster (and the fact that this is a horror film) there really isn’t too much mystery to whether or not there really is cannibalism going on here. The abundant use of eerie music, especially around Quaid, really adds an uneasy tone and makes you wonder how safe the boy really is at home.
All in all, “Parents” is a fairly enjoyable film with competent acting, a good eye for detail and an unsettling tone throughout. You’ll see the final “twist” coming, but at only 81 minutes you can’t really feel like you’ve wasted your time. There are a few WTF moments, but it’s certainly worth a look if you’re into this sort of thing. Plus, it was filmed in Toronto, and that ain’t not bad !