Taking place in the 1950s, Bob Balaban's Parents is the story of Michael, a young boy who slowly begins to suspect that his rather conventional parents are actually cannibals. Although Parents is categorized as a black comedy, the comedy aspect of the film is few and far between. Don't get me wrong, the film does have some great absurd comedic moments, but overall the film is incredibly tense and consists of some haunting, even graphic imagery. Almost entirely from the point of view of Michael, the film does a great job at showing how his perceptions and fears continuously escalate, as he becomes more and more certain that his parents are indeed cannibals. For a film that is more interested in entertainment value than intellectual endeavors, the film does a surprisingly affective job at capturing a young boys fragile mind. The entire cast is great, particularly Randy Quaid, who gives one of his best performances as the father of the household. Quaid brings such a calm, creepy demeanor to the film that he commands your attention every time he is on screen. The aesthetic of the film is very unique, using the 50s setting to perfection. Up-beat music from the time period plays throughout the film, even during some of the most intense sequences, giving the film a nice playful feel. The cinematography is creative as well, utilizing depth of frame and first person early on to get the viewer into the mind of the young boy. Some of the visuals work better than others, but either way it's a fairly unique visual experience that is a lot of fun. Although Bob Balaban's Parents isn't nearly as funny as I was hoping for, its playful style make it a lot of fun, being one of the better films of the cannibal sub-genre.
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