Thursday, September 30, 2021

Coming Home in the Dark - Movie Review

The Movie: Coming Home in the Dark

The Director: James Ashcroft

The Cast: Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Matthias Luafutu, Miriama McDowell

The Story: A family’s idyllic outing at an isolated coastline descends into terror when high school teacher Alan ‘Hoaggie’ Hoaganraad, his wife Jill, and stepsons Maika and Jordon unexpectedly come across a pair of murderous drifters​.

The Review:
What a dark and gloomy story. Director James Ashcroft starts his movie with an almost light hearted tone as a family sets out on an outdoor excursion with nothing more than normal teen angst from the two boys resulting in a reasonably pleasant experience. Then the story turns on a dime, chaos ensues and, and next thing you know, the family is in shambles and things have taken a very quick descent into darkness.

I don't want that first paragraph to scare you away from watching this movie, it's quite good after all but I also want people to understand what they are getting into. Ashcroft takes viewers on a difficult journey and then rewards them with a complete story that shows how we all have things in our past that affect who we are now and how we live our lives. There are lessons in this movie that show how our past affects our mental well being in various ways and to varying degrees and how we can justify actions and decisions that we make from that state of mind.

There is a fair amount of violence in the movie and it can be pretty brutal although not in a blatantly gory way like we see in some films that are more exploitative. The filmmakers take care to keep the actual acts of violence slightly off camera or hidden by imaginative angles so you know it's happening and the major impact actually comes from the cast members doing their part. Also, for being such a raw, hard edged story, the movie looks quite beautiful. It's very cinematic, takes advantage of some gorgeous backdrops, and is also at times as gritty and dirty as the characters and the story.

The Verdict:
Coming Home in the Dark is an intense and violent movie that carries some strong messaging about society, about mental health, and about how the past will always be a part of who we are whether we want to embrace that idea or not.

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