Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
This is one half of the theme: the granddad is an abusive ex-military man who spouts hatred, and his abused son is the repressed, uptight head of the household. The sister, pregnant and outspoken, is to be protected and revered, with her husband the second in command. The mum, too old to be in the protected role of baby-making, is the unloved caretaker. The main couple are the failure of the family - a son who dares to not follow the authority and toe the line, coming back from a period of estrangement with a (insert shocked gasp) a "middle eastern" girlfriend who thinks dares to be more educated than them!
The dad becomes more and more unhinged as things get worse, needing so badly to prove that his belief system is correct and that following the rules will solve things. The sister and brother in law have little glimmers of redemption, the chance to stand up to the white supremecist patriarchy, but their relapse is immediately followed by punishment. This is where a horror staple slips away: while repugnant granddad does die first, second-in-line dad makes it to the finale and angelic mum doesn't. Waiting for that perceived poetic justice is frustrating.
Some haphazard Christianity comes crashing in with the dramatic peak, with a Son of Sam style God-in-the-TV and some second coming of Christ that comes entirely out of left field. This does almost link the other theme, which is the less interesting cliche of TV is bad and brainwashing us all. It's a bit overdone and hypocritical coming from a television screen itself, but could have been an interesting critique of the place of TV in the family if it had been properly explored. There's also a completely unacknowledge hallucination or dream of a wide open field, adding more mess to the symbolism.
Overall, mediocre characterisation and confused conclusion aside, the horror elements and racial points are enjoyable. Not an instant classic by any means, but the suspence had me hooked until the end, even if I did forget the characters names.