Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its fourth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days that aren’t toothless remakes or watered down sequels. Theaters just don’t seem to be the place where the horror is at these days, I’m sad to say. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video on Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay pr digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st , 2012 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column four years ago!) and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each column for those who can’t get enough horror which may include films that almost made the list or goodies from the past I’ve covered.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
Today’s slot in the list goes to a film that I think you’re going to thank me for after you experience it. I know when I first discovered it, I was blown away first by the film itself and second when I realized I hadn’t heard anything about it before hand. HOME SWEET HOME is another home invasion story, yes, but it’s one of the best with some scenes that will chill you to the very core.
HOME SWEET HOME (2013)Find it soon on Netflix here
Directed by David Morley
Written by David Morley
Starring Meghan Heffern, Adam MacDonald, Shaun Benson, Marty Adams
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Though there have been many home invasion films lately with more to come, the outcome of these films are often pretty predictable, as there are only a few ways the film can end: the invader kills the family and gets away, signifying the death of the dream of the typical American way of life, or the invader is killed by the family, who more often than not are dysfunctional, yet find a way to survive and overcome the threat, possibly stating that nothing is stronger than family. And that's about it. One is a glass half full message of the strength of the American nuclear family, the other is the glass half empty note that there's no such thing anymore. And while these films are predictable, I usually find myself intrigued in some way to find out which side of the coin falls in any particular home invasion film. For the most part, which way it goes is telegraphed from the beginning, but in cases like HOME SWEET HOME, I was guessing up until the very last second of the film, making this one of the best home invasion films you're going to see this year.
What works is the way director David Morley (aka David Morley, who also directed the fantastic "THE FLY meets 28 DAYS LATER" flick MUTANTS a few years ago) sets up the tension. The first 15 minutes of this film are beyond tense, as a silent masked man breaks into a home and sets things up to make sure when the occupants come home he controls everything. Bolting the windows closed, manipulating furniture and doors, even petting the cat, the intruder isn't given motivation or back-story. He just shows up, faceless and wordless, knowing what he is about to do and staying one step ahead of everyone else, including the viewer. When the couple (played by Meghan Heffern, who looks a lot like a cuter Parker Posey, and Adam MacDonald, who plays the doltish husband to a tee) get home, they obliviously move about the house as if nothing is wrong. But we as the viewer have seen what they haven't. Like a true Hitchcockian classic, HOME SWEET HOME excels at tension to the nth degree.
The beauty of these tense moments is that the story smartly plays with the viewers’ expectations. We know the attack is coming, but Morley is painfully patient in bringing that attack forth for quite a long time. But never does a minute of this film pass that is not full of goose-pimpling tension. When the attack does occur, Morley continues his methodology by slowly pulling back the curtain to show why this invasion is happening. Just when you think you know how the film is going to end, the rug is pulled out from under you again.
Set with only four actors and a single locale, HOME SWEET HOME should be something all low budget filmmakers should look at and study in the ratcheting of tension, full use of a small location, and the painfully tense use of patience, punctuated with deliciously bombastic action. I was on the edge of my seat for this entire film, not knowing who was alive or dead and never given a moment to guess how it will end.
HOME SWEET HOME surprised the hell out of me and proves that no matter how many types of a film has been made, given a skilled director and a talented cast, a simple story like this one can leave a deep, red gash. Though it's much more gory than a Hitchcock film, those who love stories filled with suspense and tension will be very pleased upon viewing HOME SWEET HOME.
Another film that deals with fears around the house is the well done agoraphobic tale called CITADEL (full review here), another one which just barely didn’t make it to the countdown. The film does a fantastic job of illustrating what it is like to be afraid to leave your own home with some terrifying scenes and a group of nasty demon things that will definitely give you a start. The film gets a bit predictable in the latter half, but for a good portion of the film you are right with actor Aneurin Barnard terrified and trembling in his home trying to protect his son. Great scary stuff.
Find it on Netflix here and watch the trailer below!
The Countdown so far…Number 31: TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D!
Number 30: DEVIL’S PASS!
Number 29: THE RAMBLER!
Number 28: THE AMERICAN SCREAM!
Number 27: BATH SALT ZOMBIES!
Number 26: MANBORG!
Number 25: ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY!
Number 24: SIGHTSEERS!
Number 23: ABC’S OF DEATH!
Number 22: THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH!
Number 21: I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE!
Number 20: THE CONJURING!
Number 19: COME OUT AND PLAY!
Number 18: V/H/S/2!
Number 17: CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES!
Number 16: CURSE OF CHUCKY!
See ya tomorrow, folks, as the count down continues with the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR over the past year!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written comics such as THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be a feature film from Uptown 6 Films), Zenescope’sGRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13 & UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES – THE HUNGER and a chapter in Black Mask Studios’OCCUPY COMICS. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark also wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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