Sunday, October 23, 2016

Film Review: Sweet Home (2015)

Sweet Home (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"For every violent surprise and suspenseful scene, there are two annoying plot contrivances that had me huffing and puffing."

A real estate broker and her boyfriend find themselves trapped in an old apartment building when a group of killers show up...

Sweet Home uses a very simple concept for its foundation: when real estate agencies can't get rid of tenants, they hire trained killers to silently assassinate them. Alicia (Ingrid Garcia Jonsson) plans a birthday surprise for her boyfriend, Simon (Bruno Sevilla), in an apartment building that happens to have one lingering tenant who won't leave. Alicia stumbles upon the murder while revealing her presence, which causes the couple to become a target. The windows have been boarded and the front door has been sealed. It's your fairly basic home invasion plot that has changed from a secluded house to a nearly abandoned apartment building. It leads to an incredibly generic and predictable ending.

I almost liked Sweet Home. I mean, it was almost a movie I would call 'good.' Unfortunately, Sweet Home ended up being one of those annoying and infuriating home invasion movies. It's one of those films that's reliant on its characters' stupidity and clumsiness. Alicia has these very annoying butter fingers, so she's always dropping everything at the worst possible moments; for every decent idea she has, she comes up with something downright stupid. In other words, it is contrived. Aside from possibly a single plot point, the story never moves forward naturally. It always uses a blatant and frustrating plot contrivance. I liked the setting, there are some suspenseful scenes, and there are even some bloody surprises, but these features don't excel enough to cover the flaws in its plot.

The acting was okay. Ingrid Garcia Jonsson performs well during most of her performance. She only really suffers when the performance becomes demanding, like a scene towards the end. She just doesn't come off as believable. Bruno Sevilla was decent, too, but he's often lacking in conviction. The music was good, though. I liked the film's style, too. The film was written by Teresa de Rosendo, Angel Agudo, and Rafa Martinez; Martinez also directs. The writing is this film's biggest flaw. The concept is actually interesting since it gives our invaders a reason – in most home invasion movies, the antagonist does it because 'he can.' Unfortunately, that's all the writing really has going for it. The plot cuts too many corners and it uses the characters' stupidity as a crutch. The 'safe' ending doesn't help, either. The direction fares a bit better. Martinez crafts a stylish, often claustrophobic, and occasionally suspenseful horror/thriller.

Overall, Sweet Home is a mediocre film. There were moments where I really enjoyed it, but the bigger picture is just disappointing. For every violent surprise and suspenseful scene, there are two annoying plot contrivances that had me huffing and puffing. It's frustrating due to its lazy writing. If you have a Netflix, the most I can recommend is a stream.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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