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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Review: M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters

Director: Tucia Lyman
Screenplay: Tucia Lyman
Year: 2020

Being a parent is no easy task and this is a topic that has been used countless times in horror cinema. Suspecting that your son is a psychopath must be something even more difficult, where the parent is left in a vulnerable position about the action it must take. “M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters” explores this area of parenthood in a moment when in the United States these cases are seen more and more often. 

Jacob has never been a normal kid, with an enigmatic personality and a character that is hard to deal with. His recent behavior makes his mother Abbey start to suspect that Jacob is planning to do something dreadful and has decided to take matters into her own hands. The relationship between both quickly deteriorates and they fall into a downward spiral of violence and mistrust that makes Abbey revive traumas from her past.

In her debut as director and screenwriter of a feature-length film, Tucia Lyman crafts a story as controversial as it is emotional. In a time where violence in the United States as a consequence of unattended mental illnesses, one of the strongest arguments in the recent “Joker”, keeps claiming lives and makes it an extremely relevant topic, but at the same time one that causes plenty of opinions. In “M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters”, Lyman takes use to the core of a family where this kind of wantonly violent behavior is not unknown and is reminiscent of the great “We Need To Talk About Kevin”.

“M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters” develops in the found footage style, many of the clips coming from a security system that at some point we see Abbey install in her house to spy on her son. Most of the videos shown we see from a laptop where there’s an archive of videos from the security cameras, as well as videos from mobile phones and old videos from Jacob’s infancy, these last ones being real videos from the childhood of the actor that interprets Jacob. Most of the weight of the plot falls over the acting of Melinda Page Hamilton (“God Bless America”) and Bailey Edwards (“Bright”) as Abbey and Jacob, who do an excellent job of capturing the viewer’s attention into their dynamics. 

Although the videos don’t follow a chronological order, it is easy to follow what happens in each of them by what’s shown. In most of them there is some exposition to put the viewer in context, which helps the story flow but in some cases, make the dialogues and commentaries feel forced with the only purpose of letting the viewer know what’s happening. This is not something that takes you out of the movie but feels unnecessary in some parts and takes out from the quality of the script that is generally good. 

“M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters” explores the life of a mother that suspects her son is a psychopath in a movie that is as tense as it is emotional. The combination of a good script with great interpretations manages to keep the viewer doubting if Jacob is really a psychopath or just a young guy with behavioral issues until the surprising and emotive ending. “M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters” is a fascinating movie full of suspense that delves deep into a hot topic in the current United States and tries to raise some awareness to it while at the same time has the potential of being misinterpreted and cause controversy.

“M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters” will be available in selected theaters on March 13, 2020 and will soon after that be released on digital platforms.

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