Coming Home In The Dark (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Coming Home In The Dark (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Bleaz79 on December 21st, 2021 | Movie Review | Survival, Road Trip, Psychological, Thriller, Desolate

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It’s about a family who, while on a camping trip, are accosted by two violent drifters and the father has to confront the demons from his past.

Coming Home In The Dark was directed by James Ashcroft, from a screenplay by Ashcroft and Eli Kent which was based on the short story by Owen Marshall, and stars Daniel Gillies (from Captivity and Dream Cruise), Erik Thomson (from  Awoken) and Miriama McDowell amongst others.

Coming Home In The Dark (2021)

A sedate family holiday in the New Zealand countryside turns in a road trip from hell in this brutal horror thriller which is equal parts The Hitcher, Wolf Creek and Killing Ground.

Between this, Wolf Creek and Eden Lake, I am NEVER going camping again! What starts out as a typical family trip quickly turns into a living nightmare when two drifters with ulterior motives join a family at their campsite. Not everyone is as innocent as they seem is this harrowing piece of genre cinema.

Coming Home In The Dark uses it’s time and its violence to disturbing effect. Moments of quiet conversation are interspersed with brutal, shocking violence which comes in short, sharp, painful bursts.

Daniel Gillies is a truly terrifying villain who never descends into histrionics or camp. Single minded and coldly callous, his character, Mandrake, has one purpose here, to complete what he feels is fully justified before he and his partner, Tubs, can go to the pub.

The rest of the small cast is also excellent, Matthias Luafutu brings a quiet menace to the reserved Tubs; McDowell’s traumatized mother, Jill, is played with heart-wrenching realism; while Thomson’s patriarch, Hoaggie, desperately tries to defy his fate and a bleak truth at every turn. There is not a bad performance in the film.

If there’s anything wrong here it’s that it may be a tad too bleak and nihilistic for some to stomach. Some of the themes covered will be triggers for those watching, but to specify these would ruin the film.

Simple, sparing camerawork is accompanied by an imposing, yet muted, score that complement each other grandly. Combining this with a modest and intimate directorial style from from Ashcroft results in a harrowing, hard to watch yet excellent film.

Worth Watching?

Indeed it is. Gillies is magnetic, the violence hurts and the tale is gripping. It’s not one that you’ll want to watch to have a laugh but if you like tough, uncompromising horror thrillers this one’s for you.

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