3.5 out of 5 stars (above average)
Thank you to Justin Cook PR for reaching out to me for this review. M.O.M. contains brief self-harming.
Most found footage movies don’t work for me. While gems like Cannibal Holocaust and As Above, So Below used the gimmick to great effect, many in this genre leave me wondering why the filmmakers didn’t shoot them traditionally. M.O.M. (Moms of Monsters) is another one to add to my list of found footage movies that work, exploring a scarily topical premise buoyed by strong acting, a slow but steadily escalating suspense, and evading many of the traps that often plague this genre.
Single mom Abbey (Melinda Page Hamilton) has been filming her 16-year-old son Jacob (a creepy Bailey Edwards) since childhood, noticing he has displayed all the tell-tale signs of psychopathy. Unrelenting anger, murdering animals, and a general disregard for her and others have had Abbey on edge for years. When the police and other family members offer no help, Abbey makes it her mission to expose Jacob’s dark side on camera and stop him when she suspects he is planning a violent act.
In one word, M.O.M. is unsettling. Hamilton and Edwards portray a believably antagonistic mother-son relationship despite the script’s slightly exaggerated tone and characterization, and the found footage gimmick along with the efficient use of locations (mostly their house and a few brief outdoor scenes) grounds the film in reality. Director Tucia Lyman gets intense performances from her leads and provides a growing sense of unease as the story plays out. This is absolutely a slow-burner, but the finale is intense, dark, and very satisfying. Edwards is immediately hateable as the villain, while Hamilton provides an emotionally engaging turn that shouldn’t go unnoticed. While the slightly exaggerated characterization might not be to everyone’s taste given the film’s depressingly relevant subject matter, M.O.M. is a disturbing and well-executed found footage nightmare that adds another win for its genre. See it.
M.O.M. will be in select theaters starting March 13th, 2020.
Likely Rated R for Language, Disturbing Behavior, And Some Bloody Images