A Movie Review on Home Sweet Home (2013)
Home Sweet Home is a home invasion horror/thriller that tells the story of a young couple returning home from a night out only to find that inside a masked killer has been awaiting their arrival. I had very little expectations going into this film, especially after seeing the fairly unoriginal poster, and the torrent of bad reviews posted on Netflix and IMDB. What got me to actually want to sit down and watch it is that, although there were plenty of bad written reviews for the movie, it was still able to get a 3.1 average rating on Netflix, which made me think that maybe it's not such a bad movie after all. What I got was a fairly decent attempt at a home invasion horror/thriller in the same vein of The Strangers.
What will initially turn many people away from this film is that for the first 15 or 20 minutes of the movie nothing very exciting happens. We get about 20 minutes of the masked killer walking around the young couple's home while they are still out for "date night". Most of the negative reviews I've read have pointed this out as the movies biggest fault, and have even given up watching beyond this point. I actually felt that this worked for movie instead of working against it. We learn a good amount about the couple before we are even introduced to them, and it sets up the feel and tone of the film. Although very slow, the beginning does a wonderful job at creating and building tension scene after scene until the killer finally makes his move against the couple. I also liked that they showed the killer setting getting himself ready for when the couple got back (getting changed, putting on his mask, etc.) and screwing the windows shut.
The film is at it's strongest when it's trying to build tension and suspense, which it does wonderfully. Camera shots and angles are done perfectly, and come together with a great musical score to up the levels of suspense. Even after the films opening 20 minutes the film continues to build tension as the killer stalks after the couple throughout the house. One word can be used to describe the film. Creepy. I loved that the director made the decision not to show the killers face/mask until more than halfway through the film. Out of all the home invasion horror films that feature creepy looking masks, the one in Home Sweet Home lands itself in the top half of that list. It's simple, yet creepy. There are a couple of great jump scares scattered throughout the films short run time that really worked (there's one attempt that completely falls flat).
The ending is hit and miss. I won't spoil anything here, but it features a great twist that gets bogged down by the wife's poor decision making. It's not hard to see what the writer/director was going for in this ending, but it probably would have worked better if he had not chosen the route he did. He could have kept the twist, while still creating a very satisfying end to the film.
What could have been a great home invasion horror/thriller, similar to The Strangers, gets bogged down by some inept character decisions. If you were trapped in the house with a methodical killer, you had a gun that had a trigger lock, but you had the key, and the killer had no idea where you were, would you all of a sudden, without unlocking the trigger on the gun, frantically run upstairs alerting the killer of where you are? I didn't think so. It was one of those groan inducing, slap yourself in the forehead moments. I couldn't believe that the writer/director thought that was going to be a good idea. Did he really think the audience would say "Oh yeah, that makes complete sense"? Then the ending, while featuring a great twist, suffers from another inept character decision that ruins whatever momentum the film had going for it.
The acting isn't great, but it's not too terrible either. The husband, played by Adam MacDonald, is the weakest part of the movie. He's delivers a somewhat weak performance, but the worst part is that he is given some very cringe-inducing lines to say.
Overall, I think that Home Sweet Home is a great attempt at a creepy, tension-filled horror/thriller that suffers from some bad dialogue and bad character decisions. It features a great twist ending, a couple of strong jump scares, and enough blood for horror fans.
P.S.- The cat in the movie is freaking adorable
Written and Directed by David Morlet
Starring Meghan Heffern, Adam MacDonald, Shaun Benson, Marty Adams, Barbara Gordon, and Lancelot (the cat).