There is something really wrong with the Poe children (real life siblings AMBER JOY and AUSTIN WILLIAMS): they don’t talk much, they show cruelty towards small animals, and they are getting sent home from school for biting people. Father (NEAR DARK’s ADRIAN PASDAR) thinks religion is the answer while mom (CADY McCLAIN) votes for psychotherapy. Meanwhile, as matters escalate it’s clear to the audience that both parents regardless of their beliefs, really worship at the altar of denial.
HOME MOVIE is one of those found footage films like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, CLOVERFIELD and [REC] that places the viewer smack dab in the action thanks to the notion that some people like filming things more than they like staying alive. It is fascinating in places, frustrating in others and I think one’s enjoyment of it will probably be determined by how tightly they cling to the whole “this is reality” thing.
Personally I’m torn, I love this film’s cryptic foreshadowing and its refusal to identify the origin of the evil involved, and yet parts of it feel like a cheat. For example, the parents seem incapable of retaining any knowledge of previous insurrections on the part of their children. If your kids killed the goldfish, moved on to frogs and then graduated to crucifying the cat, wouldn’t it be logical to keep them away from the family dog? On the other hand, this may be the only movie I’ll ever get to see that features ADRIAN PASDAR in a pink bunny suit, so like I said…torn like NATALLIE IMBRUGLIA.
I think there is a strong story here that deserves better than having to slavishly touch base with the whole “fake reality” trope at regular intervals. Those who enjoy pointing out puppet strings can have a field day ripping apart the incongruities that abound. Better time is spent perhaps appreciating the legitimate creep factor and the subtle psychological game play, which is ultimately a great deal more interesting. I have to say as much as I didn’t buy the film’s central conceit; there are certainly scenes that really work fantastically at getting into your brain and staying there like a bad jingle (or an ice cream truck tune).
HOME MOVIE is effective enough to stand out from the crowd, but for maximum enjoyment it might be a good idea to take a leap of faith in regard to its fuzzy logic. It may not be able to convince you that it is “real,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was persuasive enough to have some parents out there locking their bedroom doors at night anyway.