RE-HOME / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: IZZY LEE / STARRING: GIGI SAUL GUERRERO, MORGAN PETER BROWN, KASEY LANSDALE / RELEASE DATE: TBC
In Texas, after the much-flaunted border wall has been built, the young Mexican-American Maria arrives to leave her baby at a care home run by white American couple Laura and Matt in the hope of a better life for her, and soon finds out whether or not she made the right decision.
Izzy Lee’s short films typically use horror to address societal issues, but even though Re-Home is more or less a straight drama, it still makes good use of its time. It acknowledges that even though people may agree on an issue, the way in which it affects them can vastly differ. Such an us-and-them attitude is highlighted when Laura cluelessly refers to Mexicans as “your people,” and the wall as a “costly eyesore,” apparently oblivious to its presence as a symbol of a shattered society.
A sinister atmosphere permeates the scene, augmented by enigmatic glances between the spouses and a background score that amplifies the already pervasive tension, generating the feeling that something isn’t quite right, and leaves you expecting something to happen without knowing when or exactly what it will be. The end comes as a revelation that reinforces the point of class division in an even more impacting way, hammering home the point that perceiving people as different and separate is a small step away from discounting them as an Other to be disregarded and subjugated.
It makes for uncomfortable viewing that leaves you tense and uneasy, and that’s precisely the point. Although its events might be a slight exaggeration, it in no way means that the issues it brings up are not contemporary extrapolations, forcing you to acknowledge their relevance. The contempt is made clear for the attitudes people have towards concerns that don’t directly affect them, casting them as blithely ignorant to how their nonchalant indifference indirectly contributed to the escalating problem and its horrific end result.
Re-Home is something akin to a modern equivalent of a Grimm Brothers fairytale, existing in a world recognisable as like our own but also different enough for its events to not seem out of place. It’s a prescient cautionary tale, warning that isolationist bigotry threatening to define and fragment people along overly simplified lines has no positive end result for anyone.