Monday, August 11, 2014

Film Review: Home Sweet Home (2013)

Home Sweet Home (Review)
Canada/France/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...Morlet has a stylish, clear vision, but it's clearly not a vision of horror."

Fresh off date night, married couple Sara (Meghan Heffern) and Frank are locked in their home by an intruder.

Home Sweet Home is a very simple film. It begins with the intruder entering and touring the empty home in a somewhat creepy introduction -- the idea of someone invading your privacy without ever knowing is creepy on its own. After sealing the house, the intruder hides and the couple arrive. From there on, Frank and Sara -- actually, only Sara -- try to survive the night. This dreadfully slow and boring film leads to a stupid ending -- it tries to be something shocking, but fails miserably.

The thing about Home Sweet Home is that it's too simple. The concept is generic to begin with, but the story is also simple boring and uneventful. Hardly anything significant happens in this one hour fifteen minute film. Most of the runtime is dominated by unnecessary filler scenes. On top of that, every other scene seems to be in slow-motion. The intruder, for example, moves in slow-motion during practically all of his scenes; he doesn't just move in slow-motion, though, he also inspects everything in slow-motion, like a caveman first discovering fire. (probably not accurate, but you know what I mean.)

I'm not sure if writer and director David Morlet knows this, but slow does not equal suspense. You can't just have everything and everyone move as slow as possible and expect tension and suspense. That's another big problem with Home Sweet Home: it's not scary. Aside from the slightly creepy but also too long intro, there isn't a shred of horror or thrill in this film. There may be a spark of suspense every now and then, but it always dwindles from too much buildup and it always leads to a dumb climax. And by that, I mean it's filled with stupid character choices and fakeout jump-scares.

The acting is all-around mediocre. Meghan Heffern doesn't have a natural delivery, it always sounds like she's reading right off the script. The only other two cast members are also weak; one doesn't speak and the other shares limited screen time. The film looks and sounds great, though; the music is good, and I enjoyed the cinematography. But, I guess that's the cliché problem: it's all style, no substance. Director David Morlet has a stylish, clear vision, but it's clearly not a vision of horror.

Overall, Home Sweet Home is a boring and generic mess. It's a stylish film, but offers no horror whatsoever. And that's the problem: a boring film can't be good simply because it's stylish -- all it is then is boring. Removing the slow-motion scenes removes half the runtime, removing the unnecessary filler removes half of that, and that leaves you with a possibly decent short film. In other words, try short films, David Morlet.

Score: 2/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence, blood, and some gore.

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