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Home Movie

Directed by Directed by Christopher Denham

Written by Written by Christopher Denham

Starring Starring Adrian Pasdar, Cady McClain, Amber Joy Williams, Austin Williams

Produced by Produced by William M. Miller, Andrew van den Houten

Rated R

77 mins

****

There is nothing, ladies and gentlemen, quite so scary as the concept of children gone bad.

Children, you see, awaken certain instincts in us. In most of the population, these are instincts of protection, instincts that in most cases requires us to defend the children in question.

The thought that we may have to defend ourselves FROM children…this is a thought too horrible to contemplate. The thought that you may have to KILL A CHILD…to prevent the child in question from killing YOU…is a dark and sinister truth not easily contemplated.

And in Home Movie, that’s about what we’re dealing with—Jack and Emily, the children of a Lutheran minister and his wife, seem to be a little out of sorts. And the videos that our minister will take of his children reveal what looks to be a slow descent into homicidal madness.

Did I mention that Jack and Emily’s last name is…Poe?

The interesting part here is that this movie isn’t exactly…familiar. Nothing like this has ever been, that I can think of, done before. It’s unusual, and this unusual is what adds to the horror.

Though this isn’t without its faults—apparently David’s wife is a CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST. And she doesn’t seem to actually notice that her kids almost never talk and exhibit behavior that can only be described as “creepy as all hell”. Seriously, Jack and Emily Poe, even from their earliest moments, make the kids from Village of the Damned look like extras from the Barney set.

Oh, and it may well be a bad idea to teach these kids how to 1. pick locks and 2. tie knots of incredible tension.

If it were possible for people to deserve to die, then the elder Poes would qualify. It’s a wonder that they didn’t HAND their children knives, crack open a copy of Gray’s Anatomy and draw a charcoal line along their carotid arteries.

And yet, at the same time this is a commentary on how creepy the overall picture is, because the kids are incredible actors who are playing these roles to the absolute HILT.

It’s hard to settle on a strong feeling about Home Movie, because frankly, I’m horrified. I’m pretty scared. These children are horrendous nightmares packed into tiny little bodies. But at the same time, the elder Poes are thundering morons of such incredible intensity that it’s hard to feel for them. I understand that you never want to believe children are capable of evil, but this is evil on a grandiose scale.

The ending will prove to be all the more terrifying for its seeming resolution—trust me, they’re going to do some truly horrendous stuff through the last about half hour or so. It’s downright terrifying.

The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, a making of featurette, and trailers for Left Bank, Fears of the Dark and Home Movie.

All in all, wow. This may well be one of the scariest movies I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s also one of the most thoroughly unique horror films ever, without immediate parallel and only approximation to even try and compare it. It’s not without its flaws, but these flaws are actually swallowed up by the vast gulf of sheer horror that we’re looking at here.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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