Film Review: Homewrecker (Fantasia International Film Festival)
The FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL is beginning to wind down, with only a few more days to go. It’s sad to say goodbye but we have all had a fun ride so far. Here at FEAR FOREVER, we have made sure to cover some of the most interesting titles this years festival program had to offer. So without further ado, lets add another one to our 2019 coverage.
Debuting at its world premiere this year is HOMEWRECKER. With HOMEWRECKER, writer/director Zach Gayne has brought us a dark comedy that had me grinning the entire way through.
HOMEWRECKER opens with a spin class followed by a yoga class- so obviously I’m already terrified. The film only becomes more nightmarish from there. Interior designer Michelle is approached at a café by aggressively friendly Linda, who goes to her gym. Too polite to put her foot down (the film is set in Canada), Michelle is steamrolled into going to Linda’s house for some awkward bonding time under the guise of some redecorating advice. Once she is there things take a disturbing turn as Linda clearly has some ulterior motives. Because of her unwillingness to rock the boat (how quintessentially Canadian), Michelle has willingly walked into her own abduction!
The needle-sharp writing of this film is its strongest suit; there is such an excellent grasp of the nuances of what is socially acceptable. The dialogue is witty and the humor is so self-aware, HOMEWRECKER has a refreshing brand of satire about everything in our culture. Upper-middle-class white women are the source of ridicule, down to the weaponizing of “girly” things such as midday cocktails and bath bombs. Throw in some peppered lines about people being glued to their phones instead of having face to face contact (honestly, this is a cliché by now) and you have a perfect, comedic commentary on our day to day lives.
The reason this film works so well is its utter relatability. It perfectly encapsulates and then ramps up the unpleasant situation of not wanting to be somewhere, but not wanting to seem rude. HOMEWRECKER creates an awkwardness so powerful it becomes horrific. There are situations in this film that are so cringeworthy it’s stressful, but secretly I loved it.
HOMEWRECKER is an exercise in kidnapping via social politeness which sets it apart from something more serious like BERLIN SYNDROME or more recently GRETA. It is however dark and bloody enough to be put into the horror genre. Linda is a character who is tensely unpredictable and scarily disturbing. On the other hand, with memorable scenes such as one where the two play a SAVED BY THE BELL inspired board game, HOMEWRECKER is sublimely wacky. There is even an 80s pop musical number!
Alex Essoe– who had the lead role in horror-community favorite STARRY EYES– is Michelle, a character who is so meek it’s frustrating at times. But credit to her acting abilities, Essoe pulls it off in a way that keeps the audience rooting for her. Michelle could easily be you or me. Precious Chong as Linda delivers her zany lines with ease. She does a great job of saying unbelievable things, while also keeping them completely in the realm of possibility. The energy in her performance is impressive, Chong pulls off a perfect blend of obsessive stalking and childlike mania.
From devastating disfigurement to deciding which 80s hunk the babysitter is going to go on a date with, this movie has it all. HOMEWRECKER gets funnier the more you think about it in the days after seeing it- and you will be thinking about it. It’s immensely enjoyable and a warning for us to be a little bit ruder to strangers in coffee shops.
“HOMEWRECKER gets funnier the more you think about it in the days after seeing it- and you will be thinking about it.”
4 Tombstones out of 5…