31st Jul2019

Fantasia 2019: ‘Homewrecker’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Alex Essoe, Precious Chong, Kris Siddiqi | Written by Precious Chong, Alex Essoe, Zach Gayne | Directed by Zach Gayne

homewrecker-image

It may come as a surprise that a movie about two women meeting at a yoga class, which then escalates to one of them refusing to let the other leave their house, is actually very very relatable for myself. But that is exactly how I found myself when watching Homewrecker.

The woman who discovers it is not going to be easy to leave the house is Michelle. Played by Alex Essoe, who horror fans will recognise from Tales of Halloween and her incredible performance in Starry Eyes. She will soon be even more popular when she stars as Wendy Torrance in Mike Flanagan’s The Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep later this year. Her captor is Linda, played by the interestingly named Precious Chong. Michelle gets into the situation just because she is unable to say no. She can’t say no to Linda joining her in a coffee shop. She can’t say no to a quick visit to her house. She can’t say no to a small drink. And I know full well that this is exactly how I’d be in this situation. I’d be to polite to do anything else and it would soon head down the same path it does in this movie. Other people might watch Homewrecker and think Michelle is crazy to not have done something sooner but I understood how her mind works immediately. I had been there. In fairness to the character, she does try pretty hard to get out of things but it never quite works out. So she ends up locked in, what is pretty much a stranger’s house, and a stranger that might not have the best intentions for her.

The two lead performances are on their own for at least eighty percent of the movie so it was key that they were cast right and they were. Essoe is obviously hugely talented and this is another much different role to that which genre fans will know her from. At times, a more subtle showing but she still gets to flex those acting muscles. She and Precious Chong show some superb chemistry in Homewrecker. Chong on the other hand is more of a surprise. Not quite an unknown but I was shocked to see she has had very few major roles in anything at all. She gets the character just right. There’s moments when you might just start sympathising with her but she quickly throws them away with a couple of lines. Linda is one of the best and most interesting characters of the year.

Although the only other main role is in the movie for a short time, I felt it was worth a mention because I thought Kris Siddiqi was really good in the one major scene he was involved in.

You might wonder where the horror or the comedy comes from in this horror comedy. The humour is kept very dark but it had me laughing on several occasions. There’s quite a lot of fighting between Michelle ad Linda and its pretty much all done with a comedic edge. These fights despite have moments of violence, are definitely played for laughs on the most part. Almost slapstick at times. They are choreographed so well that it works tremendously, with them looking clumsily realistic.

The horror on the other hand comes in small parts that I don’t want to give away. Trust me when I say, you will not be disappointed.

Director Zack Gayne probably watched a lot of Brian De Palma before making Homewrecker and chooses to use split screen on several occasions. But rather than coming across gimmicky, it is used stylishly and improves the scenes it is used for. This is Gayne’s first full feature and it’s a highly impressive one.

A simple story, told brilliantly and acted to perfection, Homewrecker is one of the best movies at this years Fantasia Festival.

**** 4/5

Homewrecker screened on ?day July th 2019 at psrt of this years Fantasia International Film Festival.

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