Does controversy actually sell? Hard to say. This one was clearly aimed to be controversial and based on the little evidence I have, it sort of worked.
For some unknown reason (although it’s strongly implied that it might have something to do with apparent static from TVs), parents suddenly feel the urge to kill their own children. It’s not just a little itch either, they are very aggressive and sometimes even creative about it. This leaves Carly and Josh trying to fend for themselves against their own parents.
Yeah, controversy. To movie begins with a scene of a woman leaving her infant daughter in a car on traintracks. While we don’t see the actual death here, it does get a lot more graphic. Of course, since we’ve seen countless murders on screen before, the horror needs to come from some other source: in this case the complete betrayal of something we take for granted. Parents taking care of their offspring is just something that’s extremely important for the survival of the species such as us, who can’t even move around for a very long time after our births, let alone take care of ourselves. So, when this “sacred” relationship is turned upside down, it is indeed horrible.
We do think of children as innocent and while it often isn’t true, we sort of have a way of assuming people did something wrong which lead to their murder (and yes, this instinct isn’t a good one). While killing is wrong, killing children just feels more wrong, somehow.
Yet, this movie sets out to be funny as well, which is kind of difficult with a row of people watching a room of newlyborns just waiting to get their hands on them to kill them. In many situations this is done by using a completely inappropriate music for the specific moment. We get jolly oldies underlining the moments of absurdity. Not that much in the movie is actually funny. It’s more of a tone of the film. It doesn’t take certain things seriously. The problem is that it can’t really keep this up for the whole movie, so after a promising start it turns into quite run-of-the-mill story.
It should be noted that of course filicide is an actual phenomenon. According to this US Today article there’s around 450 such cases annually. I can’t claim to be an expert on killings, but many of these cases just seem weird. Like this one from the sama article:
Megan Huntsman was charged in April with killing her newborns from 1996 to 2006. She told investigators she strangled or suffocated six babies, placed them in plastic bags and packed them in boxes in the garage of her home in a suburb of Salt Lake City. She was arrested after her husband found one of the bodies in a white box, sealed with electrical tape, while he was cleaning out the garage.
So, the husband didn’t know of the babies? How is that possible? Or was the marriage just something recent? In that case, the woman was still able to maintain a house on her own for at least those ten years.