Two couples, both in frayed relationships rent an idyllic, ultra-modern holiday home for a weekend of fun, frolics and general debauchery. Their coke-fuelled, sexed up evening soon takes a turn for the sinister when a mysterious visitor knocks on the door, sparking off a chain of violent events transforming their carefree weekend into the ultimate nightmare.
Orson Oblowitz directs this twisted home invasion flick that proves entertaining but perhaps not for the intended reasons. Hell is Where the Home is (AKA. Trespasses) certainly delivers some interesting ideas when it comes to approaching this brutal form of horror sub-genre and features some unexpected moments to a certain extent. Unfortunately, it veers off the boil, diminishing the glimmers of potential it does show within aspects of its narrative.
The core characters come across as bland and one-dimensional. They are merely caricatures of shallow horror archetypes we’ve experienced time and time again. There’s the troubled heroine, the promiscuous best friend, the dull, secretive boyfriend and the utterly loudmouth asshole, throwing his weight around. What we have is a band of unlikeable characters played by actors who barely emote throughout the entire film, when they do react it just feels forced and put-on, producing some unintentional comedic acting.
From the outset, the viewer is not left convinced that these characters are reacting appropriately to the predicament they’ve become embroiled in. The movie would not be out of place as part of a ‘bad film club’ screening as it can be envisioned as an audience crowd-pleaser for all the wrong reasons. Despite the negativity, the mediocre performances do allow for some entertaining and farcical moments which ensure that the viewing experience is not entirely wasted.
Fairuza Balk, best known to horror fans as the iconic, Nancy Downs in 90’s cult classic, The Craft (1996) is the film’s saving grace. Up until her arrival, the narrative feels unevenly paced
with a convoluted backstory piecing the character relationships together. Enter, the mild-mannered enigmatic ‘visitor’ played by Balk, whose car has broken down and she just needs to use the phone, (yes, that old chestnut!), events start to become a little more interesting. Without giving away any spoilers, it’s sad to say that Balk is utterly wasted in this film, however she does deliver the strongest performance amidst the cast. For a moment, suspense and tension begins brewing piquing intrigue only to be revoked spiralling towards a lame, predictable execution and a flimsy motive.
On the positive side, there are some grizzly gore set pieces evocative of the visceral violence implemented in the giallo sub-genre and the production values are exceptional, offering up some stylish cinematography and deep lighting also heavily reminiscent of the giallo film.
Home Invasion can be one of the most unsettling forms of horror, with the notion of feeling unsafe in the one place that you’re supposed to feel secure in. Hell is Where the Home is level of predictability and under developing its more interesting ideas doesn’t heighten the fear that this kind of movie is meant to deliver. That said, it does have an endearing campiness about it that at least creates an enjoyable viewing experience.
Hell is Where the Home is while not terrible, could have improved on itself with a deeper explanation as far as the motive is concerned and an overall better execution, and more Fairuza Balk of course!
Hell is Where the Home is stalks its way to your humble abode on Monday the 16th December, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.