Release year: 1989
Director: Bob Balaban
Screenwriter: Christopher Hawthorne
Starring: Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Bryan Madorsky, Sandy Dennis, Kathryn Grody, Deborah Rush, Graham Jarvis
In 1950s suburbia Michael (Madorsky) moves into a new house with his parents. Everything seems perfect, dad is at work while mum creates wonderful dinners. Except for Michael’s horrific nightmares and growing unease around his parents as he wonders, why they never let him know what they are eating for dinner.
The feature film directorial debut of director/actor Bob Balaban (My Boyfriend’s Back, 1993) is a bit difficult to define as genre. The colourful 1950’s setup in strong contrast to the horror elements and the satiric undertone all screams horror comedy. Excepts it isn’t really funny. Quaid (National lampoon’s Vacation, 1983) and Hurt (Lady in the Water, 2006) deliver great performances as the parents who may or may not be hiding horrible things while Madorsky is terrific in his only ever acting role, but the fact that the movie never settles satisfactorily on a genre hurts the viewing experience of the movie. Perhaps it would have worked better, if Balaban had let us find the unease and suspicion of foul play in small details instead of spelling it out in big letters with a soundtrack that constantly tells you when things are wrong. The costume and set design is magnificent and the whole concept of losing trust in the two persons you should always could trust is interesting. It is understandable that this has a cult following, but it could have been so much more than what it is.
The movie was shot in merely seven weeks.
If you feel like watching the movie yourself, you can get it here: