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'Home Movie' DVD Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Home Movie © IFC Films

The Bottom Line

A fascinating tale of a fractured American dream.

Pros

  • Naturally acted
  • Wry sense of humor
  • Has something to say
  • Intriguing characters

Cons

  • Leaves questions unanswered

Description

  • Starring Adrian Pasdar, Cady McClain, Amber Joy Williams, Austin Williams
  • Directed by Christopher Denham
  • Rated R
  • DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009

Guide Review - 'Home Movie' DVD Review

Home Movie is a POV-styled film -- think The Blair Witch Project meets The Bad Seed -- with the premise of being told completely through the lens of one family's home video camera: the Poes, led by father David, a minister, and mother Clare, a child psychiatrist.

It's apparent from the beginning of the home movie footage -- showing a Halloween birthday party for the twin kids, Jack and Emily -- that the children are...odd. The 10-year-olds rarely smile or speak (other than a gibberish language) and have a morbid streak that tends to leave the family pets six feet under. Still, initially, it seems that David and Clare are oblivious to their kids' behavior, hilariously attempting to engage the stiff, humorless children in play on failed occasion after failed occasion.

As the twins' conduct spirals downward from throwing rocks and killing goldfish to increasingly violent and twisted actions, the parents each have their solution. Clare tries to treat them with pills and therapy, while David secretly performs an exorcism. The combination seems to work...or does it?

Although there's been a spate of POV horror movies in recent years (Cloverfield, Quarantine, Diary of the Dead), Home Movie's domestic packaging feels fresh, and it's perhaps the most insightful of the bunch. It skewers the traditional nuclear American family and its values, showcasing videos of major holidays torn apart by the actions of the seemingly innocent, blonde, blue-eyed children.

Writer/director Christopher Denham takes aim at overzealous religion and medication as cures to the kids' (seemingly incurable) problem and even turns on its ear the lessons taught from father to child, as the twins put David's teachings of how to tie a knot and pick a lock to sinister use.

But despite the sermonizing, the film leaves the realm of reality long enough to deliver outrageous thrills.

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