Home Movie (2008) Movie Review
Written By: TJ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Christopher Denham
Producers: William Miller, Andrew Van Den Houten
Writers: Christopher Denham
Date Released: July 10, 2008
Adrian Pasdar as David Poe
Cady McClain as Clare Poe
Austin Williams as Jack Poe
Amber Joy Williams as Emily Poe
Lucian Maisel as Christian McNamara
Rating: 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
After relocating to upstate New York, the Poe family celebrates their first Halloween and the twin’s 10th birthday in a suburban home. Lutheran minister David Poe (Adrian Pasdar) and his Psychiatrist wife Clare (Cady McClain) document every occasion the family does with Clare’s camera used for her sessions, calling them Home Movies. The couple then start to notice absurd behavior from their twin which later reveals that they knew their children have anti-social disorder from the very beginning, thus the reason for their relocation. Sooner after that, the strange behavior turns violent, making the couple resort to faith and medicine. When both attempts failed, they had no other choice but to resign themselves to the fact that all they can do is to continue documenting the youngsters’ madness for the world to see the true extent of their suffering.
Home Movie (2008) starts with a close up shot of a rotting animal, with all the flies and flesh and maggots, which gives the viewers the false idea that it’s going to be an extremely gory film. Suffice to say, it is not. This film can actually be described as, for a lack of better term, ‘wholesome’ in terms of violence and gore. Despite the synopsis, the children are not really that scary and violent, although they give off a creepy vibe. Not even a single drop of blood nor a pound of flesh can be seen in this movie (aside from the opening scene, of course) and probably the most intense injury we can get would be the bite marks on the twin’s body. The prosthetics and makeup department sure are not that stressed out as the story takes on a psychological attack rather than physical ones.
The Grave Review
Writer and director Christopher Denham takes Home Movie (2008) on a different blend of handheld horror genre. We’ve seen a lot of movies alike but this one hits more on psychological effect which highlights every parent’s nightmare. The film slowly burns into the minds of its audience and gives off uncomfortable fear. But just like most of any other films, shortcomings are always just around the corner.
Cinematically speaking, we all know that found footage theme aims to give viewers a sense of genuinely peeking into the subjects’ lives, and Home Movie does it flawlessly. With all the twists and turns of the camera, we can all agree that this is the height of a shaky point-of-view that absolutely suggests realistic portrayals. However, characters seem to be thinking more about the camera than themselves in the most absurd situations, and it somehow feels inappropriate.
Nonetheless, the actors give solid acting performances and effective character development. Adrian Pasdar who played the role of a funny but strict father seems so natural, and Cady McClain playing the role of his wife compliments his acting perfectly with all the wise and motherly aura. The real-life twin Austin and Amber Williams are chilling from start to finish, seamlessly portraying psychotic children at an early age.
The story isn’t something you see everyday. As mentioned earlier, it focuses on parents’ dilemma in raising children who have disorders. It seems like a taboo topic since we all know that parents have a hard time accepting that their children have flaws, and children are a reflection of their parents. There are also clever clues along the way that tie together nicely in the end such as the story of a dragon that pretends to be a child by wearing a mask and when the father said that dead things go in garbage bags, referring to the dead bug. In the end, we see the twin wearing masks while they feast on their parents, who are inside garbage bags. These clues don’t serve to lengthen the story, they are just purely nice touch to the film as a whole.
The demerit comes from the script and details themselves. Sure, viewers are given the idea that there is underlying tension between the couple, and the children’s behavior could be caused by harassment as their father was abused when he was a kid. But all these ideas are not administered with a concrete confirmation. They just hung in the air leaving the audience to weave the backstory on their own. Moreover, it was just not believable that kids have the strength to tie their parents using tension traps without waking them up, and drag both of them down the stairs. Police officers also wouldn’t let attempted murderers spend the night at their house just because it’s holiday. We can all do better than that.
In conclusion, this is a slow intense film with a welcoming change to overwrought, special-effects-driven horror flicks. This could’ve been a true gem with its psychological significance but it just fails miserably in the details.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Home Movie (2008) three graves out of five graves.
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