Home Sick 2007 Review
Home Sick 2007
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Forest Pitts, Bill Mosely, Tom Towels
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Wow it’s Christmas already! Where the hell did 2012 go? Unbelievable. On recollection, this time last year on a SLASH above, I made a huge mistake. For the build up to the big day, I reviewed six of the most well known Xmas themed slashers. I got a lot of hits from readers and so that justified it as being a good idea at the time. The thing is, moving forward, I will have a tough job to seek out more periodic films for the festive season that I haven’t already covered. Damn…
Luckily, however, you don’t spend 20+ years watching these movies without having a few tricks up your sleeve and I happen to own a couple of the lesser known stocking fillers in my collection. Released in 2007, Home Sick is set at the jolliest time of year, but it is not a Christmas slasher per se. If it wasn’t for the odd flash of tinsel, it could have taken place in March, August or any other day of the year. Still, due to the odd pointer that this is a story that’s based during the advent calendar countdown, I decided to post it up here for you guys and gals to enjoy during your festive alcohol and food overindulgence. It came out at the time when DTV slashers were hitting shelves faster than a Juan Manuel Marquez combo and so it didn’t really whip up much of ripple in the rivers of post-millennium horror. Checking it out more recently though, some collectors have began to notice that it is actually a lot more than just another cheap and cheesy stalk and slash flick.
A creepy weirdo (superbly portrayed by Bill Moseley) gatecrashes a party in a small Southern town. He opens up a suitcase full of razorblades and asks each of the people in the room to tell him the name of a person that they hate. Scared by the freakishness of the situation and also because the nutjob has one of their number within slashing distance, they are all forced to offer up an acquaintance that’s not on their Christmas card list. In an effort to mock and disobey the demands of the stranger, one of the guests foolishly says that he hates everyone in the room. The loon then gets up and leaves the group wondering what the hell just happened. Before long, bodies begin turning up and we learn that a super human killer has been unleashed. Now they need to stick together to fight off the maniac and save their own lives.
HS kicks off with an abundance of energy and jumps out of the screen like an aggressive Rottweiler that’s just seen a cat with a steak in its mouth stroll by. We get hookers, black comedy, grimly intense photography, a lesbian clench and excessive gore all in the first five minutes. What makes things really impressive is how director, Adam Wingard manages to convey the interchanging moods of these moments with a unique simplicity and command. I especially liked a scene that immediately sets the standard and was included to give us a bit of early humour. It’s nothing more than a man (and soon to be victim) buying cigarettes in a store. But the camera shots, editing, dialogue and the way that Wingard manages the two actors; – their eyes and body movements – is seriously a different class of filmmaking. Keeping in mind that he was only nineteen when he began working on this only adds to the credit he deserves. Home Sick began shooting late in 2003 and was completed early the following year. Quite why it took so long to get a full release is beyond me, because it’s good. Unexpectedly so.
This is most definitely a slasher movie. It’s also a monster movie. You could call it a torture porn flick too. Or even a surrealist nightmare. The script encourages simple clarification only to deny it at the final hurdle, which makes for an interesting synopsis. There is a masked killer roaming around, but this is not really a whodunit and instead the ambiguity is maintained by zany situations for the unique characters. The majority of them are too perverted to be liked, but I did want the Mark guy to survive and was surprised to see that the actor playing him has no other film credits. The dramatics aren’t as awful as I’d expected, which is a real plus and the two ‘bigger name’ cameos from Towley and Mosely are each good in their own different way.
Since the torture-porn explosion, modern day horror films are becoming more and more gratuitous and Home Sick does come close to traipsing in to Gutterballs territory at times with its sleaziness. This is proven in one scene where a coked up slapper comes home to find her mum’s corpse in the kitchen. What follows is truly bizarre as she begins rolling about in the puddles of blood, stripping to her undies and then vomiting at the same time. For me it was quite hard to watch, but it has found praise on some other sites. It’s not something that I enjoyed though.
The motivation of the guy with the suitcase and the identity of the demon killer don’t really get explained, but I’m sure that was a deliberate ploy from screenwriter E.L Katz. The film takes the David Lynch route and plays like you’re experiencing a gory dream, or in effect, a nightmare, which shows real talent from the junior director. There’s no shying away when it comes to the kill scenes here. Home Sick is as visceral as any of the features that got banned in the early eighties and the goo is very well done. I especially liked the murder of the ‘bathing in blood’ girl I mentioned earlier. She gets her foot cut in half and her skull pounded to a pulp! Gruesome.
Regular readers of a SLASH above will know that I’m not the biggest fan of vulgarity in pictures and even if HS is not the worst, as I alluded too earlier, it does push the exploitation stuff to the limits in places. This does somewhat bring down the idea that I had in mind for a rating. Great movies of old like Deliverance, Badlands or Straw Dogs managed to deliver creepy inbred characters perfectly without having to revert to foul language. It’s something that I don’t feel is necessary and a tad of ‘less is more’ would have improved the movie no end.
Still, what we have here is a decent example of modification on the slasher template and despite not being overly Christmassy, it’s a good enough flick to roll out at this time of year. Whilst taken notes during watching, I wrote, ‘Really enjoying so far’ – so I think you will too. Track it down…
Killer Guise: √√√
Final Girl: √