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M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters (2020)

Jacob Bell (Bailey Edwards) is just a normal kid; he attends high school, gets good grades, plays video games, etc. These are the things that his friends, teachers and family members believe to be true of him. His mother, Abbey (Melinda Page Hamilton) believes that there is more to her son than appears on the surface. Abbey, for years, has been keeping track of her son's behavior and keeping videos of Jacob in a file titled M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters in order to eventually share the information she finds with others around the world. She plans to reach out to other mothers who, like her, believe that their sons are psychopaths. On Abbey’s journey through her self-labeled terrifying life, her and Jacob’s relationship will be pushed to its limits over and over again. Is Abbey right about Jacob, or are Jacob’s claims, that it’s his mother that’s actually crazy, the truth?

You never know what to expect when you sit down to watch a poorly advertised independent film. There is always the possibility that the finished product will be terribly boring, uneventful or full of subpar acting. However, I have found recently that independent films have the ability to reach audiences as well as, sometimes even better then, mainstream films. M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters manages to fall somewhere in the middle of this particular spectrum. While it is not the most thought-provoking film I’ve ever seen, it does manage to keep audiences on the edge of their seats and begs them to evaluate the footage in front of them (and footage is the perfect word, as the entire film is shot with homemade cameras and iPhones). The vivid content, challenging the barriers between acceptable and unacceptable behavior by a concerned parent, is sometimes difficult to watch, but it continues to require a second look, a second thought and a conversation (even an inner dialogue) in order to determine what exactly is taking place. 

There is so much information generously handed to the audience that they sometimes overlook the fact that there is more to the story. This might seem like an oversight by writer-director Tucia Lyman, when it, in fact, is a wonderful technique that helps to throw audiences off the scent of what is to come. M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters takes audiences on a journey of horrifying thoughts and ideas, but that’s all that it is for some time. For the first hour, audiences are subjected to what can only be referred to as the ramblings of Abbey, but they still keep audiences focused on what is coming. Her seemingly psychotic ramblings about her suspected psychotic son are intriguing in a number of ways. The recordings of Abbey documenting Jacob’s actions are dark and difficult to endure; they intrigue the darkest minds, but they also intrigue those who steadily empathize with those who are less fortunate, those with mental illnesses, etc. Lyman brings people of all walks of life together to appreciate the difficulties that millions of people experience each and every day. 

None of the previously mentioned attributes of the film would be possible without the precise and impactful performances of Hamilton and Edwards. The two relatively unknown talents have incredible chemistry and regularly find ways to interest audiences throughout M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters. Their eerily accurate facial expressions during times of distress and their unnerving ability to play characters with such mental range (including psychosis, empathy and distress) bring these characters to life and allow audiences to feel that they truly exist. I cannot say that I have ever met anyone who has gone through anything similar to what Abbey and Jacob experience in M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters, but their ability to convey their emotions and relay information to the audiences allows me to understand what they are going through and sympathize for them. 

This is the time for Indie films as the film market is struggling and digital releases are currently reigning king. This is the perfect time for films like M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters to make its way into the world. Lyman succeeds in finding the appropriate outlets and she, along with her talented cast, bring this twisted story of mother and son to life. Even with its slow beginning, the film finds success as audiences remain on the edge of the seats and anticipate what Lyman has in store for them next. 

Written & Directed by Tucia Lyman. Starring Melinda Page Hamilton, Bailey Edwards, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Edward Asner, Julian de la Celle, etc. 




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