Watch Parents

  • R
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 21 min
  • 6.1  (8,492)
  • 66

"Parents" is a dark, satirical horror-comedy from 1989, directed by Bob Balaban. The movie follows Michael Laemle, a young boy played by Brian Madorsky, and his parents, Nick and Lily Laemle, played by Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt. The Laemles move to a new suburban neighborhood, where Nick has landed a new job in food processing, working for a company that seems to have some very strange secrets.

Things start off relatively normal, with Michael beginning school and making friends in the neighborhood. However, as he starts to spend more time at home, he begins to notice some strange things about his family's behavior. Nick and Lily are obsessed with serving their son copious amounts of meat, with Nick often seen carrying out large trays of raw meat from his workplace. Michael also begins to have bizarre dreams and nightmares, which seem to be connected to his parents' activities.

As the movie progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Nick and Lily are not quite what they seem. The meat they are feeding Michael may not be entirely... kosher, so to speak. Meanwhile, a nosy neighbor played by Sandy Dennis starts to suspect that something is amiss in the Laemle household. As the tension and oddness ramps up, Michael begins to suspect that his parents are not the loving, conventional American mom and dad he thought they were.

"Parents" is darkly funny and unsettling, with a strong emphasis on the sheer weirdness of the Laemle family's behavior. Randy Quaid is particularly effective as Nick, who veers between bland suburban dad and grotesque, almost feral predator. Mary Beth Hurt is equally impressive as Lily, a seemingly perfect homemaker who hides a much more sinister side. The performances throughout the movie all have a slightly off-kilter quality that adds to the general sense of unease.

The movie is also notable for its striking visual style. Balaban uses a lot of muted colors and exaggerated angles to make the movie feel dreamlike and surreal. The suburbs themselves are a huge part of the movie's visual language; the pristine, model-home-like houses and manicured lawns are almost oppressively perfect, while the skies always seem to be a sickly shade of yellow or green. This emphasis on the grotesque and the sickly helps to situate "Parents" firmly in the territory of horror, even as it leans heavily on the comedic elements of the story.

Overall, "Parents" is a unique and odd movie that will likely not be everyone's cup of tea. Its blend of horror and comedy is decidedly askew, and the movie's episodic structure can make it a bit disjointed. However, for those who appreciate dark, off-kilter humor and surreal horror, "Parents" is a delightfully weird and unsettling treat. It may not be a mainstream classic, but it certainly deserves a cult following among fans of the genre.

Parents is a 1989 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1 and a MetaScore of 66.

Where to Watch Parents
Parents is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Parents for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 21 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (8,492)
  • Metascore