Mom and Dad (2017) | Crooked Media
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May 21, 2024
Ruined with Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer
Mom and Dad (2017)

In This Episode

Halle and Alison pile in the minivan to ruin 2017’s Mom and Dad.






[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Hello. Welcome to Ruined! I’m Halle. 


Alison Leiby: And I’m Alison. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is a podcast where we ruin a horror movie just for you. 


Alison Leiby: Just for you. Halle, how are you doing? 


Halle Kiefer: I’m doing okay. I of course, I write for, podcast called Lovett Or Leave It which is a political live, comedy political show every week. So every week I have to read the news all week and including today, and I just I did want to give a shout out to any, specifically college student at Columbia and Barnard, but also, really any college student who is protesting, what’s happening in Gaza or plans to because I saw a bunch of universities are going to do a lot of students might do like a solidarity protest. 


Alison Leiby: Yes and. Yeah. It had already also been like the same issues have been happening at Vanderbilt and Pomona and a couple of other where it hasn’t been as publicized, at least to me. I haven’t seen it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And it is so unfortunate because it’s like, oh, you immediately think of Vietnam. And then when we were in college, you know. Iraq.


Alison Leiby: Iraq war. 


Halle Kiefer: And I just wanted to say, as a millennial, I really support you and appreciate this. And it also makes me reflect on that experience of protesting, you know, after 9/11. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, sort of, the shenanigans we were up to in the Middle East, that, of course, at the time, conservatives were dedicated to pretending were valid. But then so many Democrats, you know, we were all 9/11 and sort of it was a political, became a political cudgel so quickly. And I only say that because I think if you’re a young person, I’m sure you’re like, well, why didn’t we deal with this earlier? And I just want to say, like, that’s how I felt, you know, at the time. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And then unfortunately, because it didn’t work and we are still there. I think of myself as someone who, like, I didn’t even realize I became nihilistic about some of America’s position in the world. I didn’t think of it that way, but it was sort of like, okay, well, so we guess we can’t do anything. I don’t know what to do about it because I’m I can only conceive of myself as, like an individual, I guess, outside of, you know, like a church, or like community. I didn’t really understand. And, I, I really appreciate the new generation, I think, because as social media, it is easier to connect with people and find out sort of the history of all this. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. And also feel like you’re participating in a movement that could actually lead to change. And like, there is that that people are talking about instead of kind of feeling like isolated, like, what am I going to do? It’s like, oh, we’re all doing this together. Like, I really. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I that must be like a nice that wasn’t quite something that we had access to as much when in the post 9/11 era. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And that’s, you know, the, the nature of social media. And also I just want to say, like, I think there’s probably a lot of people who have been doing this work the whole time and now. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Are like, well, well, well. But to those people, I say, well, thank god you did that. Like I, you know, like that’s something like that. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: There it is a cumulative effect, you know. So it’s like every failure I believe is cumulative. And social media can only help that. I only just had it in mind where it’s like, if you’re college student and you’re like, oh God, I got to do this cause these dumb motherfuckers didn’t actually do anything. We did it. And genuinely, we apologize. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But also, we were still in the idea that, like, well, if we protest and it doesn’t work, what do we do? You know, and I think now. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: We’re like heating up. It’s like, yeah, what do we do? How how do you do that? And there are people who have been working in these spaces and in these movements this whole time who are like, actually, you have to engage with these ideas which are about fundamentally changing society, but also we’re all there. I’m like, whatever, whoever—


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: —society, you know, like as a queer person, as a woman. But like, if you’re a parent, if you’re a person of color, if you’re disabled, like everyone, every person is like at a point where it’s like. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, it can’t be this. Like someone has to pay rent. Like anyone who has.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Lives in the world sees that we’ve run up against the limitations of capitalism. So shout out to people who are in college currently. I’m sure this is like an insane experience, but also it is a cumulative one. So thank you for doing that. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And I’m you know, I don’t know, I just I really feel for anyone younger. And it also it is on us to sort of, do the work to dig out that nihilism that is part of being an American and like being white as well that like. 


Alison Leiby: Yes absolutely. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, we don’t understand how to change things. So I can’t engage with that. And I just feel like for me, I just feel like, well, nothing I ever think or do is above reproach. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And so we just all we have to be willing to move through places where, like, I will be reproached, I should be, you know me like it’s like that. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, reproach us. 


Halle Kiefer: That is just for us as reproach in as much as like that is what part of this you know what I mean? 


Alison Leiby: Push things forward for everybody, which is the point of any kind of social movement. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. 


Alison Leiby: That’s for like the betterment of all people’s lives, which is what everything should be. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly like there’s no one on the earth who benefits from this other than billionaires. And I don’t give a fuck about them. 


Alison Leiby: Nope. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re not going to be. 


Alison Leiby: Eat them. 


Halle Kiefer: Giving me toilet paper when the stores are out. You know what I mean, like we are in the pandemic. We understand oh right the guy at the liquor store is my family. Like it’s like we already had the experience, we could not learn from it because of all this stuff in society that we never actually dealt with. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So any, who. That’s on my mind. I just want to share that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, how are you doing? 


Alison Leiby: Similarly been been closely following and just horrified by the, events on campus of Columbia and also around this country where, like, thank God Gen Z is, like, here to break us from the exact nihilism you were describing. So I really feeling for all these poor students who are like losing their housing and their health care and some of them their visas and some like, oh God, it fucking sucks. It is international cat day. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. Thank god, we need something.


Alison Leiby: Also, you and I both, are accumulating new tattoos, regularly. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh yeah. 


Alison Leiby: At this point. How’s yours healing up?


Halle Kiefer: Oh, good. Here. Here it is. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, it’s so good. Sorry. For those of you who aren’t watching on video, Halle just, tore her shirt off and showed us her giant chest tattoo. No. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. They’re just. I got, tattoos of boobs on top of my boobs. It’s actually very confusing. Just, like a half inch higher. 


Alison Leiby: It’s like that, filter on Instagram and TikTok where you have two eyes near. 


Halle Kiefer: Hell yeah. 


Alison Leiby: You see like four eyes. It’s, like, super disorienting. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s cool though, no. It’s a little skull with, sort of cartoonish flowers coming out of it. And I, of course, as everyone who gets tattoos now immediately want another one. Alison, you just got. 


Alison Leiby: Well, I just got one in LA and then. But I already booked, so I went to LA. I went to, jelly. Jelly—


Halle Kiefer: I actually, I need to go there. 


Alison Leiby: Terrific. So many great artists there. I found, McKenna, whose, handle is @pokingyousoftly, which is terrific. And I got my shopping cats, cats going shopping, and one of them was wearing sunglasses. And then. But I already had an appointment with my girl back here @Flowersforalloccasion is her handle. She does a lot of flowers and plants, but also lots of other stuff. Reba. And she did a rotary phone for me because I love talking on the phone. And. 


Halle Kiefer: Cute. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t know, that’s all. It’s, just the cat, the tattoos and just the complete demolition of the world. We knew by, like, 14 rich white men. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Oh also, I’ll shout out my tattoo artist his name is Nick Bruhl. He’s at NAB tattoo and he’s down in Tustin, California. If you’re in LA about an hour south. Well worth the trip. An absolute gem of a person and I will go back to him for sure. 


Alison Leiby: I love that. Let’s just get inked the fuck up there. This is how I’m having my midlife crisis. It’s all stupid tattoos.


Halle Kiefer: There are way worse ones to have, once I stopped drinking.


Alison Leiby: I know this isn’t hurting anybody. I’m putting money in some artist pockets. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, exactly. Yeah. And there’s really, well, I guess the limitation of your individual body, but like, there’s really no limit to what you could do. And. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: If I’m not drinking—


Alison Leiby: I’m getting older, there’s only more skin on me. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah come on. Oh and it’s all stretched out. That’s just that’s just more—


Alison Leiby: That’s a canvas baby.


Halle Kiefer: It’s a canvas. 


Alison Leiby: And then I did what, before we get into the movie, I wanted to shout out that. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh yes. 


Alison Leiby: We got a great email. This this email came in and I was like, this is the kind of email we have an email address for. And if you have stuff to tell us, don’t worry, we never reply to email. So, that’s a nightmare. But, we got this great one. But you can email us at if you have movie suggestions or corrections, which I’m sure there are many, but this one was perfect. I just want to read it really quick. Said hello lady persons. In current common parlance, pentacle and pentagram have become interchanged. But way back in the olden days, when I was a practicing Wiccan, pentangle is just the star. So just the five point star. Pentagram is the star with the circle of protection around it. So if you’re talking about these things now, we have the right language. So I want to thank, let’s see. Supergirl. I think it’s your handle, or V-Lo, which is the other one that you gave us, which I think it—


Halle Kiefer: She gave us like multiple codenames, which I really loved. So if you ever email us, please. Just because we always feel like we don’t know if you want us to say your name, but also you might want to say it now and then six months later, be like, oh, I wish I told them to say that. So just send us like a code name when you email us. That would be fun. 


Alison Leiby: I love the. I hope you’re dragging J-Lo with the V-Lo, acknowledgment, because she’s just getting dragged all over the place, and rightfully so. But no, I like, I love, I love that we got that. I would love more information about pentagrams and pentacle pentangles and Wiccan life. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I feel like as someone who is, fully or in the process of processing the damage, organized religion has done to me on a an emotional and sexual level. As a queer person, I’d love to know. Let us know. Maybe books if you’re a Wiccan or a pagan of any type. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: So maybe an intro to a 101 would be good for us because we, you know, we don’t know shit about it. 


Alison Leiby: Nope. 


Halle Kiefer: But thank you. That was very. That’s very helpful. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. I like I feel like I that’s a I’m going to like, pull that out randomly, at a party one night, I’d be like, actually. And you’ll have done your job. 


Halle Kiefer: And they’ll be like. Alison, you’re screaming. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Like pentagram has the circle of protection around it. 


Halle Kiefer: I will say I will defend J-Lo real quick just because she is getting dragged because of her. This is Me Now. Insane. One insane title. 


Alison Leiby: And then her documentary about the making of it. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. And then her tour that she had to change like a best ofs. Which is what she should have done. You know me like it can’t be the new album. I’m sorry, J-Lo. 


Alison Leiby: She’s not that kind of artist. 


Halle Kiefer: Let me just say this, and I’ve said this about her before, maybe on this podcast, and I’ll say the same thing. It’s also why I feel about Bradley Cooper. J-Lo and Bradley Cooper. Everything but the talent. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Everything but incredible. I mean, also like it is a talent to be a performer. Like I was like, she’s not the like she’s she’s a decent actress, but. 


Alison Leiby: She’s a decent actress. 


Halle Kiefer: Much like Bradley Cooper. The art, like she wants to make, like she wants to make the album that people will, like, listen to 20 years from now. Like.


Alison Leiby: She wants to be—


Halle Kiefer: Bradley Cooper wants to like win the Oscar. 


Alison Leiby: She’s really just a celebrity. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. And I and I unfortunately, I kind of admire it. And then I’ve only seen a couple of clips of the documentary, but it’s it’s everyone around her, including Ben Affleck being like, yeah, so probably of course people were going to do the tour, like trying to be like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m having those conversations. I’m sure for years before she did this being, like, well, maybe we could do small venues or perform around L.A. like, I’m sure there were other conversations and she’s like, no, I have to do it. I have to do, you know, my Lady Gaga. 


Alison Leiby: She wants a world tour. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, I want the outfits, I want the tour. And then it just isn’t there. If it was there, I was sure if someone suddenly said, J-Lo has an incredible album, I’m listening to it right now. 


Alison Leiby: For sure. 


Halle Kiefer: I always want that. I like her as a celebrity. I want her to make something good and I want to support her. And same with Bradley Cooper if he makes a good movie, baby, I’ll go see it. 


Alison Leiby: I’ll see it. 


Halle Kiefer: And I’ll see the bad ones too. That’s fine. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah of course. I just like her love story. Her relationship saga is actually like kind of compelling, not as documented. But if someone who is good at writing movies, not Bradley Cooper, I am not looking at you, would make a movie kind of based on her romantic life as this, like famous, beautiful actress and singer and how she’s with Ben Affleck and they split up, and then she has twins with this other guy. It’s like, it’s like I am interested in, like, getting back together when you’re 50 and like, getting. 


Halle Kiefer: I love it. 


Alison Leiby: Like, I love it, but like, that’s what it needs to be like. It needs like Nancy Meyers. Do your best. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Somebody take this and go make it something. It J-Lo’s hands are not the ones to shape it for the public. 


Halle Kiefer: I was gonna say. And then Nancy Meyers, will always be talking about the J-Lo movie 20 years from now. It’s like, well, have you seen the J-Lo movie? 


Alison Leiby: Absolutely. So that’s our prescriptive advice for for miss J-Lo. 




Halle Kiefer: This week we are, of course, still on, mommy month. And we are doing 2017’s Mom and Dad, bringing in a daddy along with our mommy. And it stars, Selma Blair and Nick Cage. Perfectly cast. If you asked me. We always like to start by having Alison react to the trailer. Alison, what are your thoughts about the Mom and Dad trailer? 


Alison Leiby: I’m, like, shocked. I had no idea this existed. 


Halle Kiefer: It really flew under the radar. 


Alison Leiby: Like it? Like it’s like Nick Cage. I feel like every time Nick Cage does something good or bad, we do know about it. Like this. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Completely missed me. 


Halle Kiefer: It was an era where I think he’s still now where he’s actually in a bunch of movies. I assume financially, I believe he has like a one year old now. Like I think he he started started having kids again. So I think he’s out here making movies. I saw this in the theater on a on a first date, with a perfectly lovely comedian whose name I forget right now. But, so I was excited to see it. You know, Nick Cage horror movie Selma Blair. Sign me up. But, yeah, it’s, I think it kind of disappeared. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I, I love, like, horror or satire, like, horror satire. Comedy or, you know, and I love, like, I mean, anything where it’s like, oh, the idyllic suburbs and the dark underbelly of it. Like, I’m always here for that. So like, I, I. Again. Can’t believe I didn’t know this existed. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, and of course, the movie is about the, you know, white, cis, hetero, nuclear family and sort of the pressures therein and how that metastasizes and now we’re literalizing it, via, parents turning on their young. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think you could tell that from the trailer. It’s not a twist or anything. That’s the setup for it. And so I guess the question is, Alison, how we always, like, take a baseline. How scary is the idea that planned obsolescence is just the reality of human life? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, as someone who recently had to buy a new phone pretty much against her will. I, I do think I see it in technology. So we are born and we gain skills and relevance, and then those diminish and then we die. Like, that is the life cycle of humans. So I do get. That that is the world we live in. I don’t like, it being solved with violence. 


Halle Kiefer: Sure, absolutely. And I think this movie is it also decides it’s sort of the nature of things. I, of course, as a queer person, don’t think any of this is necessary. I think we could be valuing old people. 


Alison Leiby: We absolutely should. 


Halle Kiefer: We have plenty of great. You know, but it is, it’s like we get a new phone, we throw the old phone in the drawer. We get a new purse and we throw the old purse in the drawer. And that is how we traditionally we’ve done it much like all the things we’re reexamining. Perhaps listening to the older people who many of whom have great insights, you know, is sort of the, not the takeaway of the film, the takeaway, the film is much gnarlier, I think. And then finally, would you like to guess the twist in Mom and Dad? 


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: Is there any twist at all? 


Halle Kiefer: No. So let’s do. How do you think this movie ends? 


Alison Leiby: Okay. I mean, I think the kids are going to kill their parents.


Halle Kiefer: Great. Excellent. Excellent. Guess. 


Alison Leiby: And then perhaps, like, learn a lesson of, like. Oh, we need them.


Halle Kiefer: Right. Meaning of family. After you’ve murdered. 


Alison Leiby: Do we ever. I mean, I guess we’ll get to this, but, like, is this the kind of movie where we ever understand, like, why this happens? Or is it just kind of like it is a phenomenon and you just kind of roll with it? 


Halle Kiefer: We literally get one line on the news of what they think is going on, and for me, that’s all I need. You know, it’s very, Night of the Living Dead. 


Alison Leiby: I need a reason. 


Halle Kiefer: No I totally get that. But I think it is. There are plenty of movies where, like, you get sort of a nugget that you can sort of wrap your mind around. So it’s to me. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: It was a satisfying amount. They don’t really explain everything, but I think what the suggestion of what’s going on, I think is interesting. So. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. I will take that. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, and then I’ll have you guess that. What do you think is causing this, Alison? 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, I’m going to guess lead poisoning. Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: Love it. Okay, great. Let us begin ruining Mom and Dad. Alison, the movie opens, and I really. I liked this movie. When I first saw it. I really enjoyed a lot more of the. Upon review, I could enjoy sort of the performances, the specific decisions. The movie opens on a woman leaving her minivan, and we see in the back seat the back of, toddler’s head in a car seat. And as she closes the door and walks away, we she we see that she is parked in between train tracks, safety rails, which are down. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And less than 100ft away. A train is barreling towards the minivan. Title card. Mom and Dad. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, that’s how you start a fucking movie. So over the opening credits, words were really they’re like very 70s and very stylized in this, like, really fun way. We get this, montage of images of ever in the movie to Dusty Springfield’s cover of yesterday When I was Young. Great. You’re setting up the theme. It’s a great cover again. Perfect. And we get that pan in the trailer and sort of the sterile suburban housing development row after row of the same exact street. And we get a teen girl who is in one of those houses, a house belonging to the Ryan family, and we meet first teen girl Carly. She’s on the phone with her new boyfriend, Damon, who says, hey, I don’t you. I can’t help it if you make me think bad thoughts. And then Carly like, like you’re so innocent. It’s like, okay, so we’re 16, you know, I mean, we’re we’re back, presumably maybe having, like, hooked up. Yeah, but we are, you know, things are happening. 


Alison Leiby: You know, interested in it, I. 


Halle Kiefer: Guess. We see that Damon is biking to school. Damon is a year older than Carly, so he’s a junior. She’s a sophomore, so he is taking the. He’s training. Testing, the PSATs. And so he is taking a bunch of practice tests. And so they haven’t really seen each other. And Carly’s about to take the PSATs today. Maybe we could sneak out and go celebrate. Right. And the I took the assumption to be like by celebrating, by going all the way to kids, say, going all the way. I feel like even when we were young, that was outdated.


Alison Leiby: Even when we were young it felt a touch outdated. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, its such a funny phrase going all the way. 


Alison Leiby: It’s such a funny phrase. 


Halle Kiefer: So. But the implication is also like, Carly, would have to sneak out to see Damon because her father in particular doesn’t want her to date him. But before she can sort of get into any more specifics, her little brother Josh, who is nine, and they say it in the movies, that’s the other, was like, is he seven? 


Alison Leiby: Thank you. 


Halle Kiefer: Is he twelve? Yeah, he busts in and he whips a pair of his tighty whities into her face and screams, mom says get your ass out of bed. Which is what having a younger brother is. I think.


Alison Leiby: I, I every time I see it depicted on screen, I am grateful I have no siblings. 


Halle Kiefer: So of course Carly jumps up and starts running after him and he has like classic like there are trucks everywhere. Everyone is constantly almost stepping on his toys and falling down the stairs. There’s like a carpeted set of stairs and everyone who goes down almost steps on it, which again is both funny and also when you like, are around children. That’s exactly what it is like, you know? So she chases him down the stairs and she hurls one of his trucks in the back of his head, and it knocks one of the family photos off the wall. Alison. Foreshadowing. Just then we see her, we hear her parents shower running, and she sees her mom’s open purse open on her parent’s bed, and Carly goes in. Meanwhile, we see Damon has arrived at school. We also see, like, a bunch of people arriving. So I think this must be a campus that has a, high school, middle school, and maybe elementary school because the kids are all ages. So it’s not just like the high school students we see. 


Alison Leiby: Right? 


Halle Kiefer: But that’s that’s that seems reasonable. So it’s like everyone’s dropping off their kids here. Back at Ryan’s house, we meet their housekeeper. Her name is Sun-Yi. She’s there cooking breakfast, and she also has her daughter around between, basically between Josh and Carly’s age named Lisa. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And so, presumably Sun-Yi and Lisa have been, you know, been in their lives for years. You know, they’re just here. I’ll be absolutely honest. There’s a couple. Couple there’s a couple. Parents and children we meet that are clearly just there to rack up the body count. 


Alison Leiby: You know, we’re going to need that. I got it. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. And they’re all listening to the news. And the news is about the woman who left her baby in the car on the train tracks. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I bet that would be on the news. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. We meet mom Kendall, played by, of course, the Illimitable Selma Blair, who we see here. She has, like, a cup of Joe. Not a morning person like fun mug. And we see her take a sip of coffee. She’s like, oh, God, another day. And that’s where she and her husband Brent are at, basically, like they are in the oh my God, another day moment of parenting. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And we’re gonna find out more about that, but it’s sort of like, you know, their their kids are not little anymore, so they need them less and less. And this lawyer struggling with Carly sort of becoming a young woman. And then Josh is still a child. So it’s like dealing with the childness of it. So clearly Kendall’s in like a having a moment. Right? And she’s like, oh, do we have to listen to this before breakfast? Sun-Yi apologizes, shuts off the TV. It’s not her fault. I don’t know why we’re yelling at her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s the news. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. We see husband Brent again, played by Nicolas Cage. He’s eating breakfast next to Josh, and he says to his son, always do what mom says. And then he and Josh, like, smash toy cars together in sort of a parody of the train crash. So yeah. So again, we’re taking it real lighthearted. Okay. We’re not, we’re not understanding this is going to come to our doorstep. Carly is trying to play her. Play her cards right to go out tonight to meet Damon. She says, oh, you know, can I get to go to the movies with, Riley tonight? Riley being her best friend. And as we found out, Riley is a daughter of, Kendall’s friend Jenna. So a known entity. Riley is, like, acceptable. And I guess also because she’s a girl. Her parents immediately both say, we know you’re trying to meet up with Damon. However, what is like underneath all of this is Brent sort of forbidding her from seeing this boy. And Carly says, I can guess why you don’t want me dating him. The the Ryan family is white, Damon is Black, and so she’s not saying it out loud, but that is what she is saying is like, I could guess why you’re being so fucking weird about my first boyfriend, but Brent are less. Brent’s concerns I think are less racist, but no less Freudian because it’s really about he doesn’t want his teenage daughter having sex, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s like, I used to be a 17 year old dude. They only want one thing. And Carly says, gross, I don’t want to hear about this. And it is one of those things where it’s like, we don’t have to do this anymore. I’m sorry. You could just talk to your children, teach them sex ed, and know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: That your teenage daughter is a full human being with her own sexual desire. So you have to teach her to be responsible and thoughtful and to not abuse each other. Not pretend like some boy is going to show up and fuck your daughter like it. Just like that. It’s not the 50s. We don’t have to do this anymore. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, we don’t have to pretend that they don’t want to have sex. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. 


Alison Leiby: What you need to do is like, acknowledge the reality and give everybody like a full and thorough education about themselves and others and how we relate. And then like, trust your kids that you’ve raised them to like understand what’s okay and not okay.


Halle Kiefer: Right. Yeah. Like if you’re afraid of this guy taking advantage of your daughter, than your solution should be to talk to your daughter about that. About what that even means she doesn’t have any information. No. Kids have the information, and then they have to deal with their parents being like, what do you mean? What are you talking about? 


Alison Leiby: It’s awful. 


Halle Kiefer: Kendall reminds Carly. You can’t go out tonight. Your grandparents are coming to dinner, okay? You haven’t seen them in months and they’re not getting any younger. Carly’s like, oh, great. You know, you and grandma just passive aggressively sniping at each other. And then grandpa telling his disgusting Vietnam stories. And she just like a grandpa imitation, she’s like I pulled it out and stabbed the Charlie bastard with his old pig sticker and I was like, that’s an insane thing to allow your father to tell your child. Kendall gasps and immediately apologizes to Sun-Yi, who says, I’m Chinese. I’m not Vietnamese. Chinese is not Charlie. And Brent says to Sun-Yi, take my advice and never have kids. And then, of course, Lisa sitting right there, he goes, oh. Like, oh—


Alison Leiby: Oh God.


Halle Kiefer: It’s like, oh my God, dude. 


Alison Leiby: Everybody in this movie start over with your life. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. But I think again, like, there is an edge and an aggression and an unhappiness that fills the house. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Because the parents are unhappy, which is like what this movie is about. Obviously, we also hear that, Kendall’s sister Jenny is is very pregnant, is having the baby any day now. And so she’s on her phone waiting for the text to go to the hospital. Carly says, I’m calling it. Aunt Jenny’s having the baby today, and you’re the one who’s going to be a no show for dinner. And I could have gone out, you know? So Kendall drives Carly to school alone, and it’s sort of like this is their only alone time. So, of course, as her mother, she has to immediately fucking lay into her and like, castigate her for all this stuff. But we also see in a flashback that Carly did steal $80 from her mom’s purse. It might have been 100, actually $100 from her mom’s purse. And so Carly sitting there like, oh no, she’s going to yell at me about that. She Kendall doesn’t know about that. She can’t even yell at you about it, you know? And Kendall says, you know, your father and I want to trust you, you know, when it comes to dating, but you don’t make it easy. And again, Carly’s like, well, you’re not going to like that. I stole all that money from you, so you’re not going to trust me? 


Alison Leiby: Nope. 


Halle Kiefer: But, you know, you understand, like, Kendall’s, like, try to have this connective moment and be like, this is the only time we get together. You know, you’re going to be graduating in a couple of years. And then Kendall, because it’s like Carly is being surly and not giving her something back. Kendall then immediately starts attacking her again, like, if she can’t get what she wants out of her daughter. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: And Kendall says, you know, the world really revolves around you, and Carly says, who else’s life should it revolve around? This is the only life I have. What do you mean? And Kendall says, you know, you’re part of a family. You might have a new cousin today. That’s a big deal. But you don’t even care. As somebody who loves babies and cousins, even I’m like, you want a 50 year old like, so she could care what she sees a baby like. What are you talking about? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. What did she was like, wait around. Just like to be like, okay, she had the baby. Like, it is just, I don’t know. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think it’s like Kendall says, you know, again, the guilt trip, it’s like we used to be best friends. What happened? But I think this is sort of like. It’s like an example of, like, we could see that Kendall’s try to connect with Carly, but she doesn’t know how right now. So instead she’s going to just attack her daughter at every like in any way she can to provoke a reaction. And then when the reactions like mad be mad about that, like it’s just a misunderstanding. It’s like, if you want to be best friends, you do have to talk to her like a friend, like you have to talk, have us talk about sex or talk about college, like it has to be there has to be content there to have a friendship, right? It can’t just be punishing her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But however, again, we’re just setting up that Kendall as Carly is getting older, sort of like, you know, misses having that easier childhood connection that she still has with Josh. And it’s sort of like seeing her daughter grow up and you know, so then immediately they they do go into a fight, you know, and Carly’s like, well, mom, I have other friends now. Like, you know, I have other stuff going on. And Kendall says, well, you know, for me, you and Josh for everything, so you don’t just get to shut me out. And Carly says, it’s not my fault you have no life again. Classic teenage fight. 


Alison Leiby: Classic teenage line. 


Halle Kiefer: Back at home, Brent gets ready to leave and he tells Sun-Yi and Lisa, hey, we’ll see you next week. Basically, the idea is that Sun-Yi is going to finish cooking. We’ll cook dinner and just put it in the fridge for them to get home. And then this is Friday, so they’ll be back on Monday. And Sun-Yi says that’s fine for reasons I didn’t understand. Having seen this movie twice, Josh stays home. I assume there must have been a line at some point, like, oh, he’s sick, so I’ll stay home and watch him. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But because at first I’m like, oh, maybe he goes to school later with Lisa, but then. 


Alison Leiby: Right. Because like, younger kids usually start later. That makes no sense.


Halle Kiefer: So but then they never address it. It doesn’t come up. So in my mind I decided that Josh was sick, and then, you know, anyway, that, that he’s just going to be staying home. He’s in his pajamas all day, and, Sun-Yi and Lisa are. Why doesn’t Lisa will go to school. I don’t I that I actually don’t know, but, regardless, the three of them remain in the house. And as Brent is turning to leave, you know, he’s like, oh, thanks so much for helping, you know. And so and he said, oh, yeah, dinner will be in the fridge. And Brent whispers under his breath, fuck you under his breath before saying, great, thanks so much. Brent is sort of your prototypical coward, you know, it’s sort of a, American Beauty type of guy where he thinks, yeah, secretly being angry and, like, beating off at work or something is like what a life is, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Right. But just like, being like, I guess it has to be this way. So I’ll do, like, nothing productive to fix it. And I’m just going to ruin everybody’s lives in secret. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Which again, is what this movie is about. And I think that’s sort of what we’ll, we’ll get to, using the metaphor of, sudden violence, as, as as horrors want to do. Meanwhile, we see Josh throws a ball at his dad’s head because they’re playing around and, like, you know, Brent was being cute with him and tickling him. And so Josh whips the ball and Brent turns and it’s this moment. Then only Nick Cage can give you of true insanity on his face like a rage. 


Alison Leiby: Well, cast. 


Halle Kiefer: And then he stifles it again. And yeah, Nick Cage does that very like brittle. Like you can tell inside there’s like something horrible is happening, but he can like, sort of pull together, but it’s still like seeps out of his pores that he’s unwell, perfect. And he tells Josh, you know, ten isn’t a guarantee for you. And he sort of kicks Josh’s truck’s out of the way and he heads into work, and before he goes, he gets in his car, a regular, you know, four door sedan, and he has a flashback to his youthful days of when he had this sick muscle car and we see him doing donuts in a parking lot, like a much younger version of him, with a woman with a topless woman with her titties in his face. And it’s just him doing donuts. And it’s like, well, that’s not how I plan to spend my 40s. So I completely understand missing that.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, that well, first the tattoos and then. 


Halle Kiefer: And then I got get a muscle car that it’s a it’s a long term plan.


Alison Leiby: There’s financing that’s for sure. 


Halle Kiefer: If I get a muscle car I will be buried in it. Like it will be my coffin. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah yeah yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But then instead it like he’s reminiscing about his past. Then Brent looks at there’s like a half finished Nutri-Grain bar on the passenger seat. 


Alison Leiby: Nutri-Grain. 


Halle Kiefer: It was just out all night. You just picked it up and started eating it. We’ve all been there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, at school, we meet Carly’s friend Riley, who gets busted for, like, surreptitiously listening to music on her phone. The teacher takes her phone, and Carly’s texting her like, ha ha dumb bitch or whatever. Really got. He got you. Of course. The teacher then texted Carly, you can bring your phone up to the front too. I think they’re just doing that to explain why they don’t have phones for the film. So Riley and Carly. 


Alison Leiby: At least they gave us that instead of us just being like, wouldn’t they have phones? 


Halle Kiefer: Right cause this is 2017. Everyone would have a phone. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Except for Josh and like, younger kids. He says you could have them back at the end of the day. Meanwhile, at home, we see Josh is still zooming around. Alison, we see that Sun-Yi is, using a, meat mallet to pound meat. And as she does, she turns and she looks at her daughter with a look of pure loathing. Right. Meanwhile, Josh is playing. He sort of flings a helicopter, and it bounces off the door to the basement, and we see Josh flashback to a recent event when he found an injured animal in the yard that crows were sort of picking at. So to me, the crows being there meant this. What I at the sounds could be a kitten, the sounds could be a baby squirrel, like it’s some tiny animal. We don’t see it. Which I did appreciate as like it was a good artistic choice. And also, I didn’t want to feel fucked up. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I don’t know. 


Halle Kiefer: Crow eating kitten. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. Not on national cat day. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, God. No. So I’m going to say it’s a squirrel’s baby squirrel. And he goes out with a shoe box, and he doesn’t. He knows his parents won’t want him to have in the house, so he hides it in the back seat of his dad’s prized, muscle car, which lives in the garage, like their actual car is live outside. And this is like his thing. Like his one, the emblem of his masculinity in his youth that he clings to and is obsessed with. So, of course, his son’s putting a dying animal into it. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And then Josh goes to the kitchen to get some Fruit Loops to try to feed it. It’s like, well, that’s not going to help. I want him to water. Unfortunately, in the morning, Josh goes in to check in it and again, we don’t see it. But artfully done. He lifts the top and we don’t hear the mewing or whatever. We hear flies buzzing and we just sort of like you’re watching a child realize that things can die, right? It’s like. 


Alison Leiby: And like even if you try to help, that can be futile because. We’re all going to die.


Halle Kiefer: Right. But also you’re nine. So tell your parents next time. You know what I mean. Like, if you find an injured animal, you don’t. It’s okay. You don’t know what to do with it. Don’t hide it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. And you don’t need to learn that lesson alone. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Unfortunately, the second he takes a lid off, the garage door starts to open and his dad’s coming back from golf. And of course, Josh runs upstairs and hides under the bed and hears his dad freak out. I was like, oh my God, it smells horrible in this car. How am I going to get this smell out? And then Kendall starts yelling and I was like, well, this is why we should get rid of that car. Like you’re obsessed with it. And so now they’re fighting. So not only did Josh have to learn about death, but now he inadvertently set off a fight between his parents, which I’m sure makes it even worse, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: So in the current day, we hear, we see Josh staring in the basement or. Sorry, it’s not the basement, it’s the garage door. I see Josh staring at the garage door, and he hears behind him a scream and sort of a wet squelch, a sound that if I had to guess what it would be, it would be the sound of a meat mallet hitting the back of a child’s head. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And Josh turns to look into the kitchen in terror. Cut to Kendall’s at a workout class, which is it’s not Zumba, but it’s basically Zumba right? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see her. It’s her and her friend Jenna. Which again, as a woman in a lesbian in my 40s. Like, it’s like, ladies, you look great, but it’s a it is a commentary on, like, you know, their pursuit forever of physical perfection. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Even when you have a lot of other stuff going on, you’re supposed to, like, keep it tight. And Jenna is flirting with the instructor like egregiously. Like bending over in front of Kendall’s, like, oh my God, woman. Afterwards they get coffee and Jenna says, why do we even bother? What are we fighting back father, time for what, a few more months? Kendall’s—


Alison Leiby: I mean, a great point. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, but Kendall’s like, well, why do we do anything like to be healthy? I guess Jenna is like, please, healthy my ass. It’s about being hot. And those days are the rear view for both of us. Even though it’s like they both look amazing. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, but it’s not like that again as women like, you’re supposed to be perpetually like, you know, 19 and. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Look incredible. And, Jenna says healthy isn’t going to keep your husband from chasing 17 year old tail. It’s state divorce law that does that. Being straight is hard enough, guys. We gotta be helping each other. But but so have you see Kendall like that hits her like. Yeah. You know, if my husband could trade quote unquote, trade up where we be? And they’re obviously both miserable, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Jenna says, I’ll be honest. I saw my daughter changing the other day, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I kind of hated her. And I thought, like, one day those tits are going to drop, you little whore. But I would never say that to her, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus Christ. 


Halle Kiefer: I know. And Kendall is like, oh, okay. Like, you know, I don’t feel that way to say about Carly, but I, I appreciate what you’re saying. And Kelly goes to pay and sees that her cash is gone because she that she took out. Jenna says, well I don’t know about your little angels but my kids steal my shit all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Carly took the money, which is the first time Kendall really considered that. Like, she was like, well, you know, is, can I trust my daughter? Is this something I should be worried about? Back at Carly’s school, we get a lesson that is connected to the theme of the movie, which, you know, I love. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh. 


Halle Kiefer: And we get the teacher who explains the concept of planned obsolescence. And he’s both talking about, phones. He holds up Carly’s phone and says, you know, this is already dated. And she said, that’s the latest one. He says, yes, that’s the point. It’s the drive to replace and renew it exists in capitalism, and it could also exist in nature. And I think the fact that we immediately assume that they’re both natural is the problem. But we are setting up the that, the children are planned obsolescence. So they are that that the humanity we are being replaced all the time. And in this case, presuming that that replacement has to mean being discarded or discarding your own life, you know, and then the, the classroom phone rings. Alison. And while the teacher answers that, of course, and says, there’s a student, Penia, head down to the office, he hangs up. The phone, rings again. The teacher is kind of annoyed, but his face falls, and outside we see a bunch of cop cars sort of peeling up to the school. He tells another kid. Jensen head down to the offices. Carly tries to ask what’s going on, but the teacher says everything’s fine, don’t worry about it. Which of course, no child is going to listen to. It’s like everything’s not fine, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Down in the PSAT testing room, Damon’s pencil breaks. He goes up to the monitor to get a fresh one, and he sees the monitor is staring out the front doors. It looks like they’re in like a cafeteria after lunch, basically. And there’s doors to the outside and she says, why are they here? We still have an hour left of testing. They look they look like they’re looking to a buffet. We look outside and there’s a dozen parents lined up outside the window staring in. Damon gets a pencil and goes back to finish his test. In the girls room after class, we see Riley vaping and saying, my parents cut me off. That’s why I need you to get cash from your mom. Carly puts on makeup and we see a goth girls classically comes in and the girls buy pills off her. Riley says we’re going to go out and get completely fucked up. Suddenly, the fire alarm goes off and the girls go into the hallway to see throngs of their classmates filing outside. So everyone’s outside for the fire drill. When they get outside, they see that cops have basically locked the gates surrounding the school, and there are dozens of parents, moms and dads waiting outside. And they say, wait, is that McKenzie’s mom? And we see a mother attempting to climb the gate, which is like eight feet tall and cops pulling her off. Meanwhile, a bunch of students start approaching the gate. You know, they start yelling for the cops to open. Parents are yelling for the cops to open it. The teacher goes outside. He’s like, something is badly wrong. Like, this is not, he he had thought there was a bomb scare. Like they said, it was a bomb scare. But this doesn’t look like a bomb scare. Why are all the parents here already? Everyone’s sort of like getting panicked and screaming. Meanwhile, on the other side of campus, Damon hands in his test with 20 minutes to go. And when he walks out the door, all the parents stream in behind him. He lets it shut and then he, he bikes home. So he Damon doesn’t even know what’s going on at the school. 


Alison Leiby: This would be a good time to have a bike. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Riley and Carly are in the crowd near the gate. They’re watching confusion. The cops are trying to control people, and Carly says, do you see your mom? And Riley says, yeah, right. If ISIS dropped a bomb on this place, she’d be thrilled. Which I thought was a fun moment. The teacher says to the cops, we cannot open the gates, so we cannot let the kids go before the end of the day without knowing what’s going on. We can’t just, like, release them. It’s like especially. It’s like a bomb starts happening. Like. This is incredibly dangerous. Out of the throng, a younger student who looks like middle school to me breaks out and climbs over the fence before the cops could get to him. We see his mother reach for him and pull him down. And again, everything. I think you know my thoughts about seeing children murdered or harmed on screen. I thought everything was very tastefully and terrifyingly done. We see her pull him down and then we see her hand. She has her keys in her hand and she’s basically, like, stabs her hand down. And when she pulls it back up, the key is covered in blood. She just killed her son in front of everybody, presumably by stabbing him. 


Alison Leiby: We don’t see. 


Halle Kiefer: We don’t see it. 


Alison Leiby: Okay that’s great.


Halle Kiefer: What we see is the blood spray and everyone panic. All the kids start screaming and running. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And as the as more parents starts scrambling over the gate. Alison, if you were there on this day, what would you do? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


Alison Leiby: Now, perhaps this will, be revealed soon. What’s the vibe of the cops? Are they there in a in an attempt to connect these parents with their children? Or are they there to protect the children from the parents? Like, I. 


Halle Kiefer: I think at this point, even the cops don’t know what they’re there for. 


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: I think that they’re there for the crowd control and to calm people down. But there I don’t think anyone has specific enough information, including the cops, to know exactly what’s going on, which is why they’re fucking it up, because it’s like they don’t know what’s going on. 


Alison Leiby: They’re bound to fuck things up. That’s like their whole thing. I mean, like, what’s so scary is like my and like my if I were a kid of any age. Even today. And like all the parents of all the kids were there and all the I’d be like, where’s my mom? I need to find my mom. [laughs] Like, she will help. Like we will we will deal with this together. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Which is such a scary, kind of like world to be living in. I would just try and, like, run the other direction or, like, get as far away from the crowd as possible. Yeah, that would be my thing. Because just crowds in general. You’re begging for trampling. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 




Halle Kiefer: Well, Alison, a lot of these kids took your same advice, and they end up sprinting towards the football field, which then we get a great sequence of dozens of parents chasing them down and tackling their children. We see one dad grab a garbage bag out of a trash can, empty the garbage as he runs, and then wrap his daughter’s head in the plastic bag to try to kill her immediately. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus. 


Halle Kiefer: The cops and the teachers are physically fighting the parents off of their children. And what we realize, Alison, is each parent only wants to kill their own kid. So this is not a zombie situation where you’re—


Alison Leiby: Where it’s like kill all the kids together. It’s like, I’m going to find my kid so I can kill my kid. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Which does change the stakes. But then also to your point, like if you’re a child, the most intuitive, instinctive, and only person you’d go to is your parent. And also, if there’s all these crowds and people running around, it’s hard to know when your parents will appear. You know, it’s not like, right? It is both a throng that isn’t itself dangerous, but it is at any point filled with danger. And you can’t know. Kind of like it follows like it could. It’s mostly fine to see someone walking down the street towards you, and when it’s not, it couldn’t be less fine. And you were in terrible danger. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Riley and Carly are able to get to the parking lot, and Riley drove, and they see the other parents. And of course, they have that same realization. Like, they’re panicking and they squeeze against the car. The parents just run by them. Damon still doesn’t know about this because he’s biking home and he gets home and he waives to his neighbor Miss Beasley like an older woman, and he says, Where’s Amanda? And Miss Beasley doesn’t even look at him and just stares straight ahead and said, she’s inside. So again, we know presumably Miss Beasley killed Amanda, but Damon has no information. Unfortunately, Damon’s home life is already pretty bad, and so it’s going to take him a beat longer to realize what’s going on. Or there’s something horrific is happening. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: We see his dad’s passed out drunk in front of the news, which, of course, is about this outbreak. It’s apparently all over the city. It looks like it might be all over the state, and the people are becoming bizarrely violent. We see his dad sort of made a mess in the kitchen. So David cleans it up and takes it to the trash cans out back while he’s out there. He hears like a distant scream in a house, but he kind of waits, doesn’t hear anything. So there’s a lot of those moments where, like, something is wrong and everyone’s picking up on it, but no one has context for it. So he just goes back inside. 


Alison Leiby: So scary. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, his father’s up and about and his dad comes over and slaps Damon across the face. And Damon’s like, please dad, because he’s assuming he’s drunk. Like he’s assuming that this is unfortunately something his father’s done before and is begging him, you know, please, I can’t do this. And then his father and this is genuinely scary. His father grabs an almost empty liquor bottle and smashes it against the side table. And this poor kid has to realize, oh, my dad’s going to try to stab me with that. And he slashes Damon’s arm. Blood sprays everywhere, but Damon starts running through the house to escape him. He’s able to make it around the kitchen table in the kitchen, and his dad lunges at him, but he trips, and when he does, he falls neck first onto the broken glass. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And so Damon’s dad is immediately bleeding out, and Damon runs to him. And there’s this very sad sequence where Damon is trying to help his dad, but his father is still trying to kill him, so he’s sort of like weakly putting his hand on his son’s neck, but like, still, it’s like not letting him do, like, help him in any way. It’s really sad and very affecting, I thought. Meanwhile, we see Kendall at the bank still reeling from the thought that Carly took her money. And I think that’s intentional. It’s like, girl, there are bigger problems. You’re about to have a lot bigger problems. Like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, it sucks that you took your money, but like, my God, you know, and we see this flashback. Kendall had a has a black business card that says Tanner Lee, Top Dog, and he’s some sort of design firm. And clearly they used to be lovers back in the day. You know, it’s her ex. And we see her meeting with him and said, like, you know, you said if I ever wanted to get back in the biz to contact you. And, you know, my kids are older and I’d love to get back into the, you know, the industry. And he’s like, oh, Kendall, that was 15 years ago. You know, this isn’t an industry you can just jump back into. Like, why don’t you take some classes, you know, and all the kids are out of the house and we see her sobbing in her car afterwards. But I’m also like, that’s not bad advice. Like, I’m like, it’s design. You probably do need to, like, update your skill set, girl. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, 15 years like, technology advances a lot. And, you know, creative arts like that.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. But I think again, like the idea that she is already sort of resigned to her miserable life. So like, she’s and she’s taking this information as like just another. Wound.


Alison Leiby: No, no, you’re stuck with what you have right now. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Her phone rings and Aunt Jenny is in labor. Time to head to the hospital. Meanwhile, we see Riley and Carly arriving at Riley’s house, which is this disgusting McMansion. Like we know it looks like [both speaking] oh, I was, I say it looks like Olive Garden inside. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, sure. Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah. 



Halle Kiefer: Where it has, like, Tuscan wallpaper and, like, a red wall and then like, fake grapes on, like the soft tree? 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes, a lot of like bad wrought iron and like fake kind of like [both speaking] aged. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Aged walls. 


Alison Leiby: And things like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. A yellow like. 


Alison Leiby: Like a brown tile. Like just it’s. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s very Cheesecake Factory. It’s like what exactly are we going for here?


Alison Leiby: I, there’s a trend on TikTok where people talk about those. Kitchens. I forget what they call it. 


Halle Kiefer: They were such a thing. I remember my friend in—


Alison Leiby: The Tuscan kitchen. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, like you had a big, glass bottle of, like, peppers and oil. Like you got it like TJ Maxx or something. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. And then like dried pasta, like in display stuff. 


Halle Kiefer: Wild, wild. 


Alison Leiby: Wild time. At least there was, like, at least it was a point of view. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Everything now is just like, beige and soft.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I think we’re we’re past that, personally with my pink wall, which I am going to repaint. Yes, because I’m over it. So, they arrive at Riley’s house. Riley immediately starts looking for her mother’s joints. You know, clearly they’re, you know, people now that, like, people who use substances, it just sort of like. Yeah, like that. It is what it is. You know what I mean? In a certain sense. And we see Riley smoking and Carly turns on the TV and we see—


[clip from Mom and Dad]: What the fuck? / Multiple reports coming in of parents attacking and in many cases murdering their own children. 


Halle Kiefer: So this is sort of our first spoken aloud. And the attacks have started across the country. So this is no longer localized in any way. If it ever was like it, just say more and more reports are coming out that people killing their children. We then see Doctor Oz. Come on. And he has the, cameo. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Pre, you know, before his, Pennsylvania run. Doctor Oz, where I guess we still thought he was kind of fun. 


Alison Leiby: Sometimes I forget about that. 


Halle Kiefer: He wants you to, because he’s going to definitely run again. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. For sure. 


Halle Kiefer: So he comes on, he’s like, you know, obviously CNN’s calling anyone, which I think is perfect, like CNN would call Doctor Oz to weigh in on the random child murderers. 


Alison Leiby: Absolutely and definitely in 2017. 


Halle Kiefer: And Doctor Oz says, you know, this reminds rise of this phenomenon called savaging, which can be seen in pig populations. 50% of piglet death is due to the mothers attacking and crushing the newborns, and we have no idea why they do it. And the CNN expert, it’s like pigs. These are children, for God’s sake. Meanwhile, Riley sees in the. 


Alison Leiby: Is that the explanation? 


Halle Kiefer: No. No. But also, I guess that’s the behavior, I think that we’re saying. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, that’s the pattern. And then like, we’ll get like a little why?


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Meanwhile, Riley sees the bottom of the blender. There’s still frozen margarita, so she knows her mom is home in the middle of the day, like, drunk. And so she goes upstairs to look for her mother. And her mother, unfortunately, is sitting there, her drink overturned, just staring into space. And she sees a daughter and says, I spilled my drink. Downstairs. Carly hears a scream and terrified, she slowly makes her way, way up the stairs and finds Jenna straddling her daughter’s corpse, having strangled her to death. I think with pantyhose, but something, some some fabric. 


Alison Leiby: Something. 


Halle Kiefer: And Jenna looks up at the Carly says, oh, how are you doing, kiddo? So if you want to imagine Amy Poehler’s, cool mom for Mean Girls, that’s what we’re talking about. 


Alison Leiby: 100% on that. 


Halle Kiefer: How are you doing, kiddo? Carly screams, of course. 


Alison Leiby: But so, like, that parent has no interest in killing someone else’s child. Like she is not like she’s not like, oh, I’ve killed my daughter. I want to kill this other girl. 


Halle Kiefer: No, I think that if, let’s say, if Carly had tried to stop her from killing—


Alison Leiby: She probably would have just to keep going. 


Halle Kiefer: I think she would have hurt her or potentially killed her to get to her daughter. But outside of that, yes, okay, the implication is like, once you’ve killed your own child, you don’t have this anymore. Basically. And then and of course, now we’re headed to the hospital, where patients and nurses and guests are all crowded in the waiting room to watch CNN. And one guy’s like, we don’t know. It could be, terrorists could be releasing a neurotoxin that’s causing this. You know, obviously, it’s, instinct. Like, it’s a biological instinct for a parent to protect a child. If you could disrupt that connection and reverse it, then that, like, protectiveness was very like, you know, a deep seated and sort of ravenous can be used, you know, it can be manipulated. Maybe that’s what’s going on. We see Jenny and her boyfriend Dan arrive and Dan has his camera ready. And I also like, how this movie, like, gives little details, like, Dan is not the baby daddy, he’s the boyfriend. And so that makes Ken, Kendall really appreciate like, you really are doing hard work and I appreciate you. And so. Well, we’re in the, delivery room. Jenny is, of course, in the midst of labor. She’s like, oh, no, what have I done? This is so horrible. I can’t do this.


Alison Leiby: That seems to be. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. And Kendall talks her through and says, you know, when it seems horrible, when they hand you the baby and you hear her voice, it really does feel like magic. Like, I promise you, like, this is horrible, but it’s going to end so quickly and then you’ll be happy. And I know it’s hard to believe, but that is part of this in the end. Alison, she has a healthy baby girl they handed to her, and at that moment, the TV in the hospital room goes to static and they all kind of turn to look. And when they look back, they see that Jenny is starting to crush her baby to death in her arms. 


Alison Leiby: Oh yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Of course. Kendall screams. All the doctors run over and they’re trying to wrestle. And this is also a really distressing sequence where, like, this baby is just like slippery and slimy and like, rolling around and Kendall is able to reach over. 


Alison Leiby: So gross when they’re fresh. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s covered in cream cheese. And they, Jenny grabs a scalpel off of the surgical tray and is sort of like wielding it off while she’s crushing the baby. Finally, they’re able to get her arms free. Kendall grabs the baby and kind of falls to the ground like and backs up against the door. While, Jenny, who again just had her umbilical cord cut, is is still coming for her. Like she gets up and the doctors have to wrestle her back down. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And Kendall’s like, what is happening? Like and one of them know like, oh, this is something that’s on TV that they are learning in real time as a thing. And now they’re witnessing this. It’s so shocking that like, again, no one has any content like it’s like, oh, here’s what’s going on. We don’t know. We don’t know why she would do that. Meanwhile we see Carly run home and to your point, sees a guy with a bloody baseball bat. So she thinks, oh, great, that guy’s going to beat me to death. Fortunately, she runs into Damon, who was also coming to her house to look for her. And so he says the guy doesn’t want us, and we realize the guy is just getting his mail and going inside like he presumably he already killed his kids. So he’s.


Alison Leiby: I mean yeah. Stands to reason, given all the evidence. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, Brent is asleep at his desk at work watching porn. I presume he jerked off at work. 


Alison Leiby: Sure, man. 


Halle Kiefer: And then he ignores a call from Kendall. Like, you know, he also calls the secretary since I don’t want any calls. And the secretary says, well, even for your wife, because she’s been calling and he says, especially from my wife. And they all laugh. He then we see him turn the he has, like a photo of his children. He puts the photo back. I guess you put it down to jerk off. And we see him silently screaming in his office. Right. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Kendall still has the kid, and the doctor’s like, we need to take the baby. We don’t know what’s going on. We are going to protect this baby, you know? But but it’s obviously distressing. And she’s like, this is my family. I don’t know what to do. And they say, well, we’ll have the baby. It’ll be safe. And we get this great shot of the row of bassinets in the nursery, and all of the dads lined up, just like staring into the baby’s, like, little, crib. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And just waiting for someone to open the door so they could get in there. Meanwhile, back at Ryan’s, we see Kendall calls Sun-Yi, Sun-Yi’s still there, and it’s like, oh, everything’s fine. Yeah, Josh is upstairs. I think he’s hiding or something. I haven’t seen him, but he’s fine. I was going to make him lunch. Then I’m going to head out. You know what he was once Carly gets home, basically, and Carly and Damon get home immediately after their phone call, and they decide we’re grabbing Josh, and we’re going to go, like, hide in the woods or something, like, we’re just going to get Josh and go somewhere. 


Alison Leiby: That’s so smart. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly like if it’s, if the parents are attacking, like, Damon’s dad did, then we just have to go hide like there’s nothing else we could think to do. And they—


Alison Leiby: Do we get it? Is it brought on by seeing your child? 


Halle Kiefer: The implication is, yeah, like it’s proximity. So. 


Alison Leiby: Because, like, Kendall and Brent, like, seemingly aren’t having these, like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: They would have both gone home to do this at this point. But they they haven’t been in the mob. So I was like, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And we I’ll tell you right now we get a radio dispatch to a certain point where it says you’re going to want to go to your children. That is a natural instinct, is their instinct to because it’s a crisis. Do not go near your children. So I think that they again, I think. 


Alison Leiby: They’re just that it okay. So it’s like if they’re nearby, if they see them. 


Halle Kiefer: And if you don’t know about this and you go to them anyways. Right. So it’s almost like we have to catch people before they go to see their kids. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. If you’re just at work.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. If you are at work and you listen and you believe it, because the problem is, who’s going to believe that? Like, as a parent, I’m sure you’re like, that’s insane. I would never do that, unfortunately. Then you get close enough to them and somethings happening. Yeah. So, so yes. Unfortunately, Kendall is like, this horrible thing happen in the hospital. I’m going to come home and, like, find my husband and kids. Naturally. That makes sense. They find Sun-Yi. Cleaning the kitchen and everything seems totally normal. Until she lifts her mop up into the sink and it’s soaked with blood. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And Carly’s, like, demands she leaves and Sun-Yi’s like, oh my God, everyone is like crazy today. Everyone’s acting so weird. She gets in her minivan to leave, and Carly runs upstairs to find her brother. He’s hiding under the bed. 


Alison Leiby: Understandably. 


Halle Kiefer: A great place to hide, frankly. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, Damien’s downstairs. He’s watching TV when a reporter interviews a dad who already killed his kid. And this is such a good chilling scene where he’s like, look, I’m trying to summon up the crocodile tears for you, but I just can’t. And the reporter says, well, don’t you think it’s horrible what’s happening? He said, I think it’s horrible what’s happening. But for me it was exactly right. 


Alison Leiby: Oof! 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, yes, Brent arrives home while Carly and Josh are upstairs, and see’s Damon’s in the house again. Brent has been, I guess, jerking off all day. I don’t know, so he doesn’t know about it either. 


Alison Leiby: What is his job?


Halle Kiefer: We find out. It’s like a parts salesman, like a heavy machine parts. 


Alison Leiby: Sure, sure. Tool and die?


Halle Kiefer: Tool and die? Yes. Propane. Propane and propane accessories, some sort of salesperson. And he comes over and he immediately freaks out at Damon that before David could even try to explain what’s going on, he’s, like, screaming at him, like, why are you in my house? And Damon says, okay, so you don’t know what’s happening. And Brent says, oh, I know what’s happening, buddy. It’s called hormones. The things you kids get to see on TV, anal beads. We had to find that in magazines. You know, the expectations that must come with that. And again, that’s all like a very common parental fear. And I hope if you’re a parent, you know, you have to talk to your children and that has to be yes, if you don’t want to use anal beads, if you don’t want to like it’s like your fear is based on a misunderstanding of what sex is, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, or, what sex could be, I suppose. So as I wrote here, we have to move away from women as innocent sex objects or victims that are full humanity. Again, probably not during the runtime of this movie, but in general, it would be nice. 


Alison Leiby: You know? Yeah. Culturally.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Carly and Josh appear at the bottom of the stairs and Brent turns to look, and again we get the Nick Cage. Literally. He has like, lizard eyes, like you see the humanity drain out of his face. His eyes are like dull, flat dinosaur. He looks like a dinosaur in a suit. It’s so awful and scary. He’s he’s great. And he lunges for them immediately to kill his children on sight. Damon fights him, tries to stop him, and then Brent basically beats the shit out of Damon and leaves him unconscious, bleeding on the kitchen floor. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. He then and yeah, okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So Damon is at least right now out of commission. Brent starts running his kids down. Josh and Carly are able to get into the basement and lock the door, and they look down. They see there’s a busted up pool table smashed to pieces in the basement that neither of them knew about. They’re like what the hell’s this cut to, we see a title card three weeks earlier. We see that Brent has ordered a pool table that he puts together himself, in pieces. And it comes in, and it. Honest to God, made me want to get a pool table. Like he cranks some tunes he like levels everything he assembles it. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. I get that.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. He steams the the felt. 


Alison Leiby: Felt. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Like it’s it’s beautiful. He’s enjoying it. And of course, Kendall comes down and this is again, classic domestic squabble of why. How did you buy this without telling me you were spending all this money and him being like, can I not have anything in the house? And it’s like, no, you both could have what you want. You do have to say, by the way, I’m spending thousands of dollars on a pool table.


Alison Leiby: Disclose it. Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And he’s she’s like, don’t you know there’s Christmas coming up. Like, can I ask you how much this cost? Brent of course freaks out. He’s like. 


Alison Leiby: That’s fair. 


Halle Kiefer: I know. She’s like, I’m sorry. Like, we have bills. I you can’t just be building a man cave. He’s like, it’s not a man cave. Kendall. Oh, I was it’s so horrible for me to want my own space. I can barely walked. Make it to the front door, kid stuff is everywhere. I swear, one day I’m going to step out of Josh’s toy trucks and kill myself, Kendall says. Do you think that I like being the one that has to piss all over your this, like, family room idea? And they’re like, of course they’re fighting and escalating, and Brent is never going to not escalate. As we already know above him. He takes a sledgehammer from like the tool space and he just starts busting up the pool table, just smashing it up. And as he beats it up, he starts singing the Hokey Pokey. Again, I’m assuming that was a Cage decision, and it works beautifully, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Kendall’s just like sitting there, face in hand, watching her husband do this. And we cut all, like, the photos that she has like, live, laugh, love upstairs and sort of like the upstairs perfect life. And, like, down here, my husband’s freaking out and busting this up, and he’s like. And she said, I didn’t even think you liked pool. He’s like, I, I hate pool and I hate machine parts sales. I when I was young, I was gonna grab the world by the balls, and now I have to work six days a week to pay on this fucking house. It’s like, okay, so we’re really getting into it here. And that’s the thing is, I would say this is obviously, you know, my take on it, but it’s like, that’s why formatting our lives around achievement grab the world by the balls is not ever going to need to happen, because that’s not a thing you can’t achieve into happiness. That’s capitalism. They tricked you, baby. You know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: They thought they told you. Hey, here’s your, white, straight, cis nuclear family. And if you’re not happy with it, that’s a you problem. And you take it out of your family versus. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. This is all set up bad. And you were never going to, like, win the prize or get the brass ring. And if you had, it wouldn’t have fulfilled you. Like you—


Alison Leiby: It wouldn’t have been actual happiness. It would just be like the same shitty of having having more than other people. Which is kind of all capitalism is driving people to actually want to have. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, this is just like, instead of being like, I’m going to try the pool table. It is unfortunately is you have to speak to your wife. I, I. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I know you’re dancing around it, but you do have to talk to her. 


Alison Leiby: Now you’re down a pool table and things still suck at home. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And he says to his wife, does any of this make any sense to you at all? It’s like, well, she’s not a dog. You know, like can your wife brain handle the disappointment. But of course, like, I think it’s a an example, like they’re having the exact same experience. Like we saw her have a professional disappointment. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: She has like she has her stuff with her body and aging too. Like she’s also having the exact same thing. But because of patriarchy, where it’s supposed to be like, this is constant fight that is made up. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And so Kendall gets, Selma Blair has a great monologue where she comes down, sits with him, is like. It’s like it’s a woman. I don’t have career goals or relationship dreams, like I had these things. But then there’s also this thing that’s, like, always on the horizon. It’s always coming, and you dread it. But are you also secretly excited about it? But you’re also terrified about it. 


[clip from Mom and Dad]: And then it happens. And no matter what you thought it would be. It’s not like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Which I thought was really interesting. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Because of course, like, it can’t be anything. It cannot be what you imagined it. Because what you’re imagining is not based on reality. You know?


Alison Leiby: Reality. 


Halle Kiefer: I  will say? Like what? I went on this one date with this guy to watch this movie. He’s like, hey, some friends watched this thing, like the Nick Cage stuff, but they didn’t like the Selma Blair like mom monologue. And I was like, yeah, that is what being a woman is. Is it like you try to explain, I thought in a very artful way, like what motherhood seems like. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And then just some guys are like, I don’t know, heard, I don’t like it. And it’s like, yeah, you’re gonna be hearing it forever. It’s a one of the one of the top ten human experiences that people have all the time and talk about. And if we actually listen to them, it would inform society in a better way. Right. And also, men want children like men had the experience of parenting. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, and again, this is, this movie’s driving at I know that this is the way it’s supposed to be. I know we’re doing it right. It’s just hard for me to wrap my mind around. What if it’s not? What if this is in fact not the way to do it, right? 


Alison Leiby: Not the way to do it. 


Halle Kiefer: Because this specific way is literally impossible for any parent to pull off financially to begin with. Socially like this is impossible. And that’s not to say, like there won’t be parents. It’s sort of like, yes, this specific version of this is gonna cut you off [both speaking] Yeah. And let me just say, if you’re a parent is this cut yourself some slack. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You’re doing the best you possibly can. 


Alison Leiby: Society is set up for you to have a bad experience. And for this to be kind of the outcome.


Halle Kiefer: For you to blame yourself or your spouse. You know and not that you don’t have personal responsibility to try to work on stuff, but my God, everyone I know works as a kid. Like you’re doing the right. I don’t have a child and every week I’m like, thank God, I made it to the end of the week, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says again, like the thesis of the movie, I used to be Brent, and you used to be Kendall. And now we’re just Mom and Dad, you know. And obviously.


Alison Leiby: The title. 


Halle Kiefer: That resentment is about your stifled life and your stifled dreams are, is going to be brought to bear on your children and how you raise them. I was talking to someone recently, a friend recently, and she was like, oh yeah. We talked about whether my only fear by not having children is, what if I regret it later? And let me just say what that is your children need you to to want to have them. Like. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: A child is not a thought experiment about how I’ll feel 25 years from now. That is, they’re not—


Alison Leiby: They’re not an insurance policy. 


Halle Kiefer: No. 


Alison Leiby: It’s like you can like it’s not like, what if what if I, like, you know, what’s a lot worse is having kids out of fear and then regretting that. 


Halle Kiefer: Right? Because then they’ll know. Because you can feel it. 


Alison Leiby: You’re ruining multiple people’s lives. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. So now you’re unhappy and they’re happy. So to me, it’s like you got to feel like you want it. And then we should be supporting people who know they want to have children, which is. 


Alison Leiby: Exactly. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s two childless women. Take that for what it is. But that’s how I feel about. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: We see Kendall’s driving home, and she gets the alert on the radio. You are. You know, you are going to want to drive to your children. Do not do it. And this is the only explanation we get is a little snippet of a radio host saying authorities are saying that we are under attack. So I think the implication is that this is a terrorist attack. This is a biological weapon. 


Alison Leiby: I’ll take it. 


Halle Kiefer: And that, you know, sort of feeding into that. It’s like if they can use a biological weapon to, for us to turn against each other, then they don’t have to do it themselves. So it’s actually the perfect weapon to be used, you know, against a large population. 


Alison Leiby: A large country. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So I think that that’s pretty much all we get in terms of, you know, what we’re getting. 


Alison Leiby: Unfortunately, Alison, she hears it a little too late. And we see here, close your eyes. And then there’s sort of this, like, low drone. And when she opens it, she has lizard eyes, and we look and she’s parked right outside of her house. Alison, she goes inside and I have to ask at this point, who will survive? 


[voice over]: Who will survive? 


Alison Leiby: Well, I know that we still have that. Her parents are coming. Is that happening? The grandparents? 


Halle Kiefer: Brent’s parents.


Alison Leiby: Brent’s parents. I think that perhaps they come in an attempt to kill the parents. Brent and Kendall, or I guess just Brent, and he kills them and it kind of like shakes him and Kendall free from whatever is going on. And then. They are no. I think the kids just kill the parents. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. You’re sticking with it. All right. Fabulous. 




Halle Kiefer: She walks in, she finds Brent passed out on the floor. From chasing his children around. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. He did slip on a truck and he fell and broke his head open. But he’s doing better. And they share a look, a lizardy look. And Brent says. 


Alison Leiby: Time to kill the kids. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re in the basement. Kendall goes to the door and immediately puts on like a sweet mom act to lure them out. It’s like, oh my God, everything’s fine. We’re here. It’s going to be safe. When Carly says, we’re not opening the door, please leave. Nick Cage goes full Nick Cage. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: He starts screaming and pounding on the on the bass door is like—


[clip from Mom and Dad]: Open the mother fucking door, open the door, motherfuckers. You’re going to open this motherfucker door. 


Halle Kiefer: Obviously giving away the game that their parent, their parents are obviously going to kill them if they open the door. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Kendall, meanwhile, goes into the garage and gets an electric saw and Brent—


Alison Leiby: Jesus. 


Halle Kiefer: Brent’s like, that’s not going to work. It’s like, because it’s not an interior door. It’s like a wooden, full wooden door. So like, it’s not going to work, but she said it’s called the Saws All. It says it saws all. Let me try to saw through the door. She starts hacking away. But it is. It’s not really working. It’s taken too long. So Brent goes upstairs to get his gun. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, good. Nick Cage has a gun. 


Halle Kiefer: Fortunately, he finds the case is empty. And before he can even turn around. He hears two shots. And Carly has shot her mother in the arm through the basement door. Kendall is screaming at the bullets lodged in her arm, but when he gets downstairs, her main point is you bought a gun. You brought a gun into this house. Wow. You really went all in on this midlife crisis. Don’t you know one of the five firearm mishaps injuries are to a child. He’s like it was in a locked case. I don’t know how they get it. Got to it. And she says, what was the combination? And Brent says Josh’s birthday. Why? And we see a flashback of Josh in his tighty whities immediately opening the gun safe. And then, like, posing with the gun in his parents mirror like insane. And we cut back to our current predicament and Brent’s like, fuck. It’s like, dude, obviously that’s going to happen. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He helps Kendall clean her bullet wound while she comes up with another scheme. They’re going to, connect a hose to the gas in the oven to fill out the basement and use it to gas the children out. So basically, like, force them to pass out or force them out of the basement because I assume they were going to blow it up. But that that is not addressed as a possibility. 


Alison Leiby: They’re underwater on the house. They can’t blow it up. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean, that’s true. How does the mortgage shake out once everyon—


Alison Leiby: If you blow your house up and everyone’s dead? 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, we see Damon, who’s passed out still in the kitchen. We see his eyelid twitch, so we know that he is alive. And during all this, Brent is really warming to his wife and reconnecting, and he’s like, that’s a really good idea, honey, I love you. You know, like, they’re really like, they are. 


Alison Leiby: That’s nice. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re refinding one another. And they they hook up the hose. Carly and Josh can hear the gas coming in. And so, of course, Carly, knows like, well, that’s not good. And we see her mom is putting duct tape over the gunshot holes to like, seal in the gas. And Carly can’t tell what it is. So she puts her finger in the hole and her mom stabs a knife through it, and a Carly immediately jerks her hand back, narrowly avoided being stabbed in the hand, and we see Brent and Kendall sealing up the holes and then sitting facing the basement door, and she tells him, you know, when I went out to put the hose in the, window, I found Lisa out by the bins. And that explains the mess in the kitchen. And they hold hands, and they laugh about how soon they’ll be able to hear the kids coughing. And when start throwing up, they, you know, once the kids are coughing and throwing up, like we know that we got them. But it’s gonna take it’s a big basement. So I think a couple hours pass, it’s nightfall and we see the kids are starting to cough. Josh gets a bloody nose. They’re just inhaling natural gas. I’m sure that is what would happen. And Josh is starting to become, like, more comatose. And I think that is both the gas. And also he’s a nine year old whose parents have been trying to kill him for hours. 


Alison Leiby: Trying to kill him. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, so poor Carly is like trying to take care of him. And she says, like, I don’t know why this is happening. I’m so sorry. It is. I don’t know what we could have done or not done to change it. Nothing. But Mom and Dad want to kill us.


Alison Leiby: This is you know, huge systemic problem at this point among adults. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, and she says we are not going to let that happen. So Carly again, very smart. She finds a box of matches and she like rips off part of the strike patch and she tapes the matches to the door and puts a piece of the strike right under it. So basically when the parent when her parents open the door, the matches will ignite and blow up the basement. Wow. Smart. Yeah, Carly’s not fucking around. Meanwhile, she finds an air duct. Thank God for the air duct in every horror movie.


Alison Leiby: Thank god for air ducts. 


Halle Kiefer: And she shoves her brother in and they start climbing through the air ducts up to the second floor. Right. She’s able to, like, push him up, but her parents hear them like coughing and vomiting before they go in and they’re like, okay, we got him. So they decide we’re going to use the Saws All because it saws all to cut the door to reach in and undo the lock. So they just need to cut a little square they don’t have to, like, cut the whole door down. They open the door, Alison and the matches ignite, and a billow of flame blows Brent through the fucking wall and knocks Kendall to the ground. Kendall’s doing okay. Brent is knocked unconscious. Yeah, they both survive. And she hears. Then when Carly and Josh drop out of the air duct, they hear. She hears them upstairs. Kendall gets up to her bedroom where Carly is waiting and who’s screaming, no, please, mom. Not please stop. And we see Kendall has grabbed the meat mallet that Sun-Yi had used to kill her daughter, Lisa. She’s swinging at her daughter, trying to beat her to death. Fortunately, as they brawl, Damon is able to awaken and he suddenly appears and with his help, Carly is able to shove her mother into a closet, at least for the moment. And Damon, they get a moment to like, catch your breath. Damon says, you know, I used to think my parents divorce was like the tragedy of my life, but now it’s really doubled my chances of survival. And they. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Carly laughs and leans in to kiss him, and just then Josh interrupts like, what the hell are we going to do? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, he’s not wrong, but. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s like, I’m nine. I can’t be up. You can’t be up here kissing. We got to get out of here. In that moment, Kendall manages to shove a like straightened out coat hanger through the crack in the door, and it goes right through Damon’s cheek and out his mouth so he’s now caught by his face to the clothes hanger. They all scream. Kendall. Kendall’s able to get out of the closet. She smashes Damon with a meat cleaver and knocks him over the second story, story landing, and he basically falls on his head and is unconscious on on the first floor. Carly and Josh still runs downstairs. Their dad has reawakened. He staggers into frame, he says as he wields the electric saw. It’s called a Saws All because it saws all. 


Alison Leiby: So, Nick Cage. 


Halle Kiefer: I know Kendall comes down with the meat mallet. Kendall and Brent are approaching their, their children when suddenly the doorbell rings. Alison, who’s at the door? 


Alison Leiby: Grandma and Grandpa? 


Halle Kiefer: That’s right. It’s Brent’s parents, grandpa, Mel and grandma. And they are here for dinner. And like a fucking idiot, he just opens the door. And I guess he’s so taken with, like, having to murder his own children. He doesn’t realize what’s going to happen. 


Alison Leiby: Doesn’t recognize them because they don’t even know that. Like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: It seems like they don’t know that that’s what they’re doing. Like, they’re just kind of instinctively doing that. So like the logic of like, I’m a child too. Technically.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Yeah. Grandma immediately pepper sprays him in the face and grandpa attacks him and grabs a knife and starts stabbing. Brent immediately Brent’s very surprised by this, which I do think is funny. It’s like, well, Brent, you were trying to kill your kid. So I get I mean. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Josh tries to intervene because, again, he’s still a child, like, loves his father and it starts a three generation murder chase throughout the home with grandpa chasing Brent and Brent chasing Josh and barking like a dog. Again. This is. 


Alison Leiby: Terrific. 


Halle Kiefer: This is Nick Cage. It is terrific. And we see this really tender moment of Brent talking to Josh after he put the dying animal on his car. And he’s like, you know, my dad was really mad at me because this car actually used to be your grandfather’s. And that day I did those donuts. And, my girlfriend put her titties in my face. I told her the totaled the car, and Mel was so mad. But then he did something that I really appreciate, which is he made me buy the car off of him. So I had to work to get it fixed. And then I bought the car off of him. But he was he wasn’t that mad at me and he used it to like, teach me something. So I want to be nice to you about this because I was like, why do you mean? You know? And so Josh apologized about putting the dead animal, the car, and he’s like, it’s okay, it’s fine. And then there’s a moment again where Brent’s face changes and he says, but if you ever touch my car again, I will kill you. And sort of like laughs and stares at Josh again is the rage is still there. Like he, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Of course. The three generation murder chase ends in the garage and literally in the muscle car with grandpa Mel screaming, I fought in wars, you little shit. What have you done with your life? Meanwhile, inside Kendall, and grandma. Because grandma is not going to kill Kendall, but because Kendall is trying to stop them. Grandma is like you. You’re never good enough for my son. You were always such a little whore. Kendall’s not even a real name. Then they start. These are kicking each other’s ass. Carly tries to intervene, but of course, as soon as Kendall sees Carly, she chases her daughter outside and goes to brain her with a mallet. Grandma tries to stop her because grandma does not have that, like grandma has no animosity towards Carly. If anything, Carly and Josh like when they walked in, they were like, oh my God, it’s so good to see you. Kendall’s able to throw grandma off of her, and grandma staggers into the driveway just as the muscle car explodes through the garage door where Brent and grandpa Mel are literally brawling in the front seat, and they slam into grandma. And as they hurtle across the street, they slam into a fire hydrant and grandpa Mel is ejected through the windshield to his death. Kendall then turns to Carly, Carly’s like, oh God, please mom, we have to still do this. But she can’t be stopped. Yeah, until Damon, who is, has staggered again. This kid’s had at least two—


Alison Leiby: This poor kid. My god.


Halle Kiefer: I know Damon, who’s now awake, staggers out of the house and just punches her lights out. In the morning. Kendall and Brent obviously extremely battered and bruised, waking to find themselves tied to a support pole in the basement with Damon, Carly and Josh watching them and of course, their parents like, oh my God, I feel so much better. Wow, that really was crazy. Let us go now and we’ll be totally fine. 


Alison Leiby: No way. 


Halle Kiefer: And Carly says, we want to trust you, but you don’t make it easy. And Josh says, I love you mom. I love you dad. And Carly says, me too. And Kendall starts crying and says, don’t you know that we love you more than anything in the whole world? And Brent finishes her sentence as he starts to get angry and he says, but sometimes, sometimes we want to. We just want to. The credits roll the end. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, wow. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: What are some fatal mistakes that were made in Mom and Dad? 


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I would say the capitalistic pursuit of the quote unquote “American nuclear family” and mortgaging all of your happiness just to, own a home and have, like, the picture perfect life. But it seems like that’s not that. Even if you had had children in a way where you had self-satisfaction, it wouldn’t have mattered, because this would have still come for you. So I don’t like I don’t know, like what anyone technically could have done if it’s like a bioterrorist attack. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I agree. 


Alison Leiby: I guess we could have built our nation on things that don’t make other, countries hate us because we exploit, others and keep everything for ourselves or for the, you know, the 17 rich white men who get to run everything. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, good, good. We’re tying it together. That makes total sense. 


Alison Leiby: Aside from that, I don’t know. Everybody was kind of doing their best. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I agree. Like, this is, even if they had been totally the implication is like, even if they had been totally happy and functional, they would have been driven to destroy their children out of a, chemical subversion of their biological urge to protect them. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But yeah. I agree, tying it back to our themes earlier, it only could have it could have. Couldn’t have hurt, you know what I mean? To not have, made society this bad. 


Alison Leiby: Yep. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think that. Yeah, everyone’s did the best they, they could, you know, like, if you have a suburban house, you’re going to have power tools, you’re going to have a basement, you’re going to have a lot of stuff. You’re going to have nice, kitchen knives. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: So these things are out of our hands, and the kids are. 


Alison Leiby: You are going to have a saw that you buy clearly from an infomercial. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. And this, the kids really did the best they possibly could. Like, the kids survived. The kids didn’t kill their parents. They kept them alive in the hopes that there is some sort of antidote or it wears off or something. And I would have loved. I would love to see a sequel. Still. I didn’t even shout out the filmmakers. I’m sorry. Let me look it up real quick, because I did. I really like this movie when it came out, but I thought the ending was a little unsatisfying. But then. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But then watching again, I’m like, no, this is this ending makes sense to me, right? Like it can’t really be resolved because it’s, you know, the relationship between parents and their children or us in society remains unresolved. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Let’s see. Written and directed by Brian Taylor. What did he write Crank? Oh, he wrote Crank. He wrote Crank and Crank High Voltage. I love Crank High Voltage. Oh, it’s, this is where I found out about Jason Statham. It’s sort of like a extremely frenetic, wild, action movie. And at least the second one, Jason Statham, I believe, has his heart replaced with a car battery. So. 


Alison Leiby: Incredible. 


Halle Kiefer: So he has to constantly be going like he essentially speed with a human, and it’s like really over-the-top and kind of cartoony, and I like that kind of action versus. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I love a realistic horror movie. I like a cartoony, over-the-top action movie. I’m not sure why.


Alison Leiby: I’m with you on that. Yeah, yeah, I like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, shout out, love this movie. And yeah. Alison, where would you put Mom and Dad on the spooky scale? 


[voice over]: A spooky scale. 


Alison Leiby: I think because it’s a mix of like some stuff that sounds genuinely chilling and horrifying, but then also like the real over-the-top silliness of of Nick Cage and just kind of suburban satire in general. I think it’s a five for me. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, I like that. Yeah, I’m going to go and actually do I’m gonna go six, because I do feel like there’s a couple moments, Damon’s father, that first death of the kid at the school that I thought were really well done and a unique and interesting scary way. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Apparently, director John Waters named this as one of his favorite, the fourth best movie of. Well, I guess 2018, but a. 2017. But, and I do think this feels like a John, in keeping with John Waters. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: A satirical take on American culture. So that makes sense. Yeah. So, everyone, thanks so much for joining us. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Thank you so much for joining us. And and, don’t forget that, we do have a Patreon that you can join if you’re liking these movies. There are two extra per month. So if you’ve never joined, there are a bunch of them sitting there for you. So it’s There’s a bunch of different tiers. So just, reminding you that that’s there because sometimes people are like, I finished the catalog and it’s like, well, there’s more. So there’s that. 


Halle Kiefer: Hell yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And, now just please, please keep it spooky. Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok for show updates. And if you’re just as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. This show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat lossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy and Ewa Okulate