Homewrecker (2020) | VOD
From Uncork’d Entertainment, the new horror comedy Homewrecker is a cordial reminder to be a nice person, but not to the point it almost gets you whacked.
The beginning starts off a little rocky as we follow Linda around at different workout classes. I think it’s supposed to be over the course of many days, but it feels like one. There’s one really long moment on a random woman in the spin class who I thought was going to be a central character, but she wasn’t. Watching it again, I realized Michelle wasn’t focused in the frame enough to establish who Linda is looking at. I’ll admit, the only time I laughed was when Michelle was coming out of the red closet and Linda’s first startling eye contact in the cafe. Everything else up to that point felt more serious. I enjoyed the transitions of the disintegrating bath bomb towards the beginning that tie in really nicely later on.
Linda, a middle aged woman, recognizes twenty something Michelle at a cafe as they realize they have the same workout classes together. Linda insists on sitting next to her and starts asking personal questions while Michelle answers each thing reluctantly, but politely. Linda convinces her to come see her house as she learns Michelle is an interior designer. They get to Linda’s house where she grows more and more aggressive towards Michelle, trying to get her to have a drink, manipulating her left and right. From there, a chain of events ensues and Michelle realizes she is trapped at the hands of Linda in a seemingly midlife mental breakdown. The whole rest of the film is Michelle trying to level with Linda in order to be let go despite being drugged, deranged mind games, shocking discoveries, and Linda’s sledgehammer.
The script was written by director Zach Gayne and the leads Precious Chong and Alex Essoe. The biggest take away for me was that women can be far too nice for their own good in order to please people or not make them angry. Women like Linda know this, so she used Michelle’s niceness to her advantage. Their dynamic would have been much more brutal if Linda’s character was a man trapping a young woman in his house. Michelle is hesitant to open up to Linda, but somehow trusted her in a way that she wouldn’t trust a man so easily. Later on, after Linda begs for honesty all day, Michelle finally tells her that she’s an unlovable fuckup and as a result is punished. The point being, if women lie out of politeness or if women tell the truth, it's a lose lose situation.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Precious Chong is an absolute terror in the best way. The moment Linda walks into the cafe and tells us who she is through her mannerisms and personality, it garnered an uneasy response from my stomach. Chong delivers a very layered performance I truly enjoyed. Alex Essoe as Michelle was awesome as well. I was often mad at her because she played a pushover so well, making me reflect on myself and how I handle really awkward situations with people who just cannot take a hint. Both actresses captured this oddball dynamic in a very honest and human way.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
"...The message is clear and I can certainly appreciate that...."
The inconsistencies with the angles and not enough coverage in the more important scenes made everything drag at times. During the really long heart to heart scene, I felt like it went on forever. The split screen when the women are talking behind the wall made it look like a music video. It felt dramatic at times and came out of nowhere.
I didn’t care all that much for the production design. If they were going for simple, they did a good job with that. For a character as eccentric as Linda, you’d think her home would have been a little more colorful and planned out rather than a college apartment. It looked like they chose a random place to film in and didn’t have time to dress it. But, I guess that’s why she needed Michelle’s interior design expertise, right?
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The score was one of my favorite things out of the whole film. The guitar strings and techy sounds create a really creepy atmosphere, without making it too much of a horror sound. The rhythmic beats tie in well with Michelle’s scenes as they create her sense of panic in those moments.
I wish I had more to say. It has a great cast and I love the concept, but the overall flow of the film did not keep me engaged. I think it’s important when a film sets out to say something, and while the horror and comedy pretty much falls flat, the message is clear and I can certainly appreciate that.