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VOD Review: Homebound

May 16, 2022

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Homebound, writer-director Sebastian Godwin’s feature debut, opens with Holly (Aisling Loftus) and her new husband Richard (Tom Goodman-Hill) driving to his ex-wife’s house in the English countryside so that she can meet his three kids and celebrate his youngest daughter Anna’s (Raffiella Chapman) birthday.

But they arrive to find that their mother has abandoned them at the property, and Holly starts to realize that the kids are most definitely not alright. Their father gets them to help slaughter a goose in the backyard (there is an assurance in the credits that no animals were harmed) for lunch, which they happily go along with, and he lets them drink alcohol with the meal.

Richard and Holly decide to stay until his ex gets home, but teenagers Ralph (Lukas Rolfe) and Lucia (Hattie Gotobed) make no secret of the fact that they don’t want Holly there, and start upping the ante in terms of bad behaviour. The trouble is that the film (which was financed by the BBC) has trouble deciding what it wants to be, never quite settling on if it is slow burn horror, psychological drama, or creepy kid movie, and it just sort of fizzles out before settling on a decision.

Even at a brief 71 minutes, Homebound is a bit of a slog to get through, with characters that we aren’t really given enough reasons to care about, and an underdeveloped story that is actually surprisingly predictable. Despite its generally unsettling atmosphere, the film also fails to build up much suspense, which would have been crucial for it to work. It does start to pick up in the final fifteen minutes, but Godwin doesn’t lay the proper groundwork for this ending to be satisfying.

With the scant amount of story that the film has, it feels like a short that has been just barely stretched to feature length, and it would have needed to spend a longer time developing its characters to offer a more satisfying descent into madness. There are some glimpses of potential in Godwin’s film, but Homebound is ultimately plagued by its paper thin plot and lack of any real character development.

Homebound is being released on a variety of Digital and VOD platforms on May 17th. It’s being distributed in Canada by Vortex Media.

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