Gruesome Reviews

“Home” (2016): Hardly Horrifying.

For me personally, it’s never a bad thing to have Heather Langenkamp starring in a horror film. She’s lovely, a really good (& underrated) actress & one hell of a nice lady to speak with (as I have). I genuinely enjoy watching her do her thing, no matter what kind of role she’s playing. Her latest film is called Home, and she plays the part of Heather, a woman in a committed relationship with another woman, Samantha (Samantha Mumba). The couple have just bought, and are moving into, a new home as the film opens. Samantha has a young daughter named Tia (Alessandra Shelby Farmer) who’s a bit on the rambunctious side, and Heather has an older daughter, Carrie (Kerry Knuppe) whose father is away on missionary duty. Carrie is staying with her mom while her dad is away, but she’s extremely religious, and doesn’t approve of her mom’s relationship with Samantha at all. Complicating matters ever so slightly is the fact that Heather & Samantha have to go away for a few days on a business trip, leaving Carrie alone with Tia in a house that seems to be haunted!

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A decent enough set up for a film, but writers Frank Lin (who also directed) and Jeff Lam take this premise and do basically nothing with it for the first 2/3 of the film. The relationship between Heather and Carrie is acknowledged, but hardly fleshed out. The inherent tension between them because of Heather’s lifestyle and Carrie’s disgust with it is barely touched on either, which the plot could’ve used to its benefit. It isn’t too often you see horror films featuring a committed homosexual relationship at its core, and the film misses out on a big opportunity to stand out from the rest of the straight to DVD crowd by barely acknowledging it.

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The day after the couple leave on their trip, Carrie forgets to pick up Tia from school because she’s too busy making out with her boyfriend (she seems to forget all about her religious upbringing/beliefs whenever he’s around), and by the time she arrives at the school, Tia’s already gone and no one is sure who took her. Carrie then returns back home, and decides to perform an impromptu seance/exorcism because something is really wrong with the house, but we aren’t really given too much direction as to exactly what that something is. There’s some noise earlier in the film about the previous owner, who just happened to be a ventriloquist. His portrait is still hanging in the house, and while it is kinda creepy, it all adds up to nothing but a quickly forgotten red herring. And where the hell is Tia?

Therein lies the biggest problem with Home – it doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. The lethargic pacing of the first hour really becomes a chore to sit through, and the script’s failure to highlight some of the tension between Heather and her daughter turns out to be a fatal error. Had they punched up the script with some of the issues Carrie has with her mom’s lifestyle, there’d be a bit of decent drama to propel the film along as the creepier aspects of it slowly seep in. But there’s literally no tension at all, and both Heather and Samantha leave the film after the first 15 minutes, taking what might’ve been an interesting subplot with them, and don’t return until the end. Leaving Carrie and Tia to carry the bulk of the film was a mistake, and while Knuppe does the best she can with the material she has to work with, but her character is too ill defined and annoying to have anyone really care for her plight. There’s a nice cameo here by Lew Temple (The Walking Dead) as Lew (Really? A teacher at the school who comes to welcome the family to the neighborhood and offer a bit of exposition about the house. But his character comes off as a bit of a pedophile, and I’m not sure if he actually is or if that’s just the vibe the character gives off. Either way, he’s a good actor stuck with a thankless role – much like everyone else here is.

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Home ends with one hell of a bizarre twist. It’s a twist that comes from so far outta left field that I dare anyone to guess what it is beforehand. But this twist, as nonsensical as it is, nearly saves the film. Yet it’s so bizarre and confusing that ultimately all it did is annoy me. It feels better suited for a 30 minute episode of The Twilight Zone, and perhaps that’s the biggest problem with Home, It’s a 30-45 minute short stretched out into a 90 minute feature. All of the performances are good, and the cinematography does a good job of making everything look sinister, but it takes so much time to get to where its going that you’ll probably be fast asleep before it ends. And if you manage to make it through the entire film without nodding, you’re gonna be really pissed at its WTF ending, despite the interesting direction it takes.

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It’s great to see Miss Langenkamp in a new film, and (despite her scant screen time) she shines here. Samantha Mumba also does a decent job with her role as well. But they’re both stuck in a movie that sets itself up as a nifty chiller, but then opts to devolve into a boring, turgid mess with one of the most wackadoodle endings I’ve seen in a long time. Home doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be, and in the end that’s too bad, because with some focus they might’ve had something good here.

Home 1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

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The Black Saint
Santos Ellin Jr (AKA The Black Saint) has been watching films of dubious quality since time began, he has also watched a few horror films along the way as well. He has been writing for Horrornews.net for the last four years and was promoted to the position of Lead Theatrical Reviewer/Interviewer/PR last year. He makes so much money doing this that he needs do nothing else with his life but he was also asked to be a co-host of the Horror News Radio podcast last year as well. It’s been said (by a family member) that he is indeed the glue that holds the podcast together although his co-hosts might not agree. He thinks they are all jealous of him anyway.
The Black Saint
Santos Ellin Jr (AKA The Black Saint) has been watching films of dubious quality since time began, he has also watched a few horror films along the way as well. He has been writing for Horrornews.net for the last four years and was promoted to the position of Lead Theatrical Reviewer/Interviewer/PR last year. He makes so much money doing this that he needs do nothing else with his life but he was also asked to be a co-host of the Horror News Radio podcast last year as well. It’s been said (by a family member) that he is indeed the glue that holds the podcast together although his co-hosts might not agree. He thinks they are all jealous of him anyway.