DVD REVIEW: HOMECOMING / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: TODD KNISS / SCREENPLAY: TODD KNISS / STARRING: JORDAN BELFI, JERIDAN FRYE, FEMI EMIOLA, BO FOXWORTH, KELLI NORDHUS, KELCI B. LOWRY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
After the passing of her grandma, Katie revisits her home town. Childhood memories are unearthed when she stays in her grandma's house, a place she and her friends practically grew up in. Katie calls up her old friends for a gathering there. With the gang back together, horrific secrets are revealed when they decide to play a game of truth. Not any kind of truth game, as they use the power of hypnosis and, soon after, grisly events ensue.
A cross between a slasher and psychological thriller, the film flicks between the present and the ominous past. Todd Kniss has managed to follow the basic formula of a psychological horror, however you can see the flaws very clearly; it has a very slow start as it introduces half a dozen characters to the plot. This isn't helped by the performances and dialogue, which is slow and unnatural, and is a disappointment as the story is very invested in character development. As the plot gradually progresses, it's difficult to endure; it doesn't really build up much tension for the events which take place in the final forty-five minutes, where the pace picks up.
It's very common for low budget films to have great ideas and original plots, but on the other hand the execution may not be absolute. Of course, the obvious excuse for this would be the lack of budget. Unfortunately for Homecoming, budget doesn't seem to be the factor in its weaknesses. Although the idea isn't completely original, it is interesting how they use memory as the main plot twist. The characters are very one dimensional, and it's difficult to relate to any of them when it attempts to focus on multiple character arcs. The characters soon become very stereotypical and the dialogue feels like it’s coming from one of those “true movies”. Then there’s the music, which switches so dramatically that it takes you away from the characters and story instantly. Light-hearted violins with a middle earth fantasy vibe means that this doesn't quite fit into horror, even if the scene is supposed to be more serene.
There are some interesting, stylised shots yet but they don't remain consistent with the rough editing. There is too much fading in and out between shots, which changes the pace too much. The flashbacks are also inconsistent in style and colour palette, assuming this is for the characters’ individual memories, but it does make the whole style jarring and unpolished. It seems like the whole film is trying to be emotional, funny, dramatic and scary all at once. We’re not saying that this cannot be done, however the film is obviously trying too hard even if you can appreciate the effort. Quite simply, this film appears to be overexerted, causing it to be more than just a little drab.