Home Movie (2008) Review

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Another entry in the found footage genre, Home Movie revolves around the Poe family: Lutheran pastor patriarch (Adrian Pasdar), child psychologist matriarch (Cady McClain), and their twin children Jack and Emily.  The film features a series of home video clips from the span of Halloween to Easter, and it is quite clear right away that something is off with Jack and Emily.  You can pretty much guess right off the bat where this movie is going to go, but don’t expect any definitive answers.

The problem with this sub genre of horror is that to propel the movie to the finish line, the protagonists often have to ignore the painfully obvious or make asinine decisions that foregoes any common sense.  The former is the case in Home Movie.  The father spends the first half of the movie behaving like a child while he frolics in front of the camera while his children are acting completely creepy and bizarre in the background.  When the bad behavior ramps up, both parents are visibly upset but dismissive until it becomes too much to ignore.

This is one of the things the movie gets right.  How do you parent your misbehaving children when you come from two very different backgrounds?  Dad believes there’s evil in the house and it may have embedded itself inside his children.  Mom believes her children are cracked and in need of psychiatric care.  Naturally this leads to discord between the spouses and shatters any chance of preventing the inevitable.  The movie also gives hints that both parents may be right: certain scenes indicate the children are just psychotic whereas others creep you out with hints of possession.

The twins spent most of the film mute, adding to the tension as you are never sure what they were going to do next or why.  At a very short run time, the movie is taut with foreshadowing, build up, and tension.

Unfortunately it falls flat in the end.  The last ten or so minutes are meant to be shocking but I just kept wondering why the parents let it get this far. I found myself very confused by the last shot.  I’m assuming its intentionally ambiguous but there wasn’t enough there to leave me with any other thought than, “Why?”

Overall, I’m giving this a C.  There was plenty to keep me interested, but in the end there was no real payoff.  There is far worse you could endure in this genre.

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