JANUARY 19, 2018 -- Once upon a time, Nick Cage was considered a serious actor who took on demanding roles. He won an Oscar for his role as alcoholic Ben Sanderson in "Leaving Las Vegas" (1996). He earned a nomination for acting in "Adaptation" (2003). After taht, his life went to the crapper when he got into tax problems with the IRS. He was left taking any job just so he could make the money to pay the back taxes he owed.


Supposedly, he has paid off the $6.2 million tax bill and can resume a normal life. But I guess he got accustomed to getting paid for crap jobs and is still doing it. Oh well. There have been a couple of decent films including "Kick-Ass", "Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans", and "Joe", but most of his films have been third rate. With the exception of "Left Behind" and "Snowden", all of Cage's 15 films since 2014 have "B" movies and films that went straight to DVD.

That would include his latest film "Mom and Dad" that is now available on VOD. It also stars Selma Blair - who also has trouble finding meaningful roles - and Lance Henriksen - who will work for food it seems.


This time Cage and Blair play Brent and Kendall Ryan, a married couple making a go at living the suburban middle class life. They have two children - Carly (Anne Winters) and Josh (Zack Arthur) who are typical movie kids. The teenager is rebellious and the boy is rambunctious.


Borrowing a page from M. Night Shyamalan's 2008 flick "The Happening" that had the plants of the world sending out a subliminal message to humans that causes them to commit suicide, director Brian Taylor goes in a slightly different direction. Without a real explanation as to what causes it, the adult population is afflicted with a hysteria that causes them to want to kill their offspring.


After the carnage begins, Josh and Carly must survive the constant attacks by their parents even as most of their friends are killed by their respective parents. Cage goes over the top nuts and Blair just wings it. There are a few gory scenes, but nothing too disgusting; in fact a few are downright humorous. It's what you can expect from Taylor who also driected the off the wall actioners "Crand" and "Crank: High Voltage".


Taylor's film played well at the 2017 Toronto Film Fest as well as the 2017 Fantastic Fest, probably because Nick Cage still has some fan appeal. But it doesn't cover ground you haven't seen before.


"Mom and Dad" is is moderately entertaining and only marginally frightening. Horror fans will enjoy that, much like Brian Taylor's other films, he wastes little time getting to the meat of the action.   -- GRADE C+ -- GEOFF BURTON