This Is Our Home (2019) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

This Is Our Home (2019) Review

Horrorific content by jessicagomez on December 07th, 2019 | Movie Review | Psychological, Dysfunctional Family

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It’s about a struggling couple’s weekend getaway that goes awry when a child arrives in the middle of the night claiming to be their son.

This is Our Home was directed by Omri Dorani and stars Simone Policano, Jeff Ayars and Drew Beckas.

They dreamt of a child... until he arrived.

If you’re in the mood for woeful psychological torment, This Is Our Home is your flavor. I literally let out a whoosh of air at the end of it and stared at the blank screen for a few moments as I gathered my thoughts. Warning: this film could be triggering for those who have had an abortion.

The opening scene sets the stage for the most important theme of the film - Reina is pregnant, and though she is overjoyed, she is hesitant to reveal her news to her boyfriend Cory. Her excitement reaches palpable heights as Cory’s initial reaction is positive, and they spend the first night gleefully discussing baby names. From the get-go, the dialogue is realistic, and there is obvious chemistry between Cory and Reina (a real-life couple), which helps you get invested in the characters and where their story goes.

All of that comes to a screeching halt; at first, we’re led to believe that Reina has had a miscarriage. However, after a scene where Cory thanks her (ew), it becomes clearer that Reina had an abortion, even though she didn’t want one.

On a getaway to her childhood home, Cory and Reina are fighting over changing a tire and a couple of strange locals appear. At first glance the scene may appear as a warning about danger lurking nearby, but look a little further and you’ll find that the danger lurks within. The scene is an examination of the toxic male psychology - afraid to ask for help, to even be shown how to help himself, and he has no problem putting his girlfriend in a dangerous place - physically or emotionally. The local man goads Reina as he shows her the way to a tire iron that Cory has thrown. She’s panicking, she’s anxious, she’s afraid to keep going. But keep forging deeper into the depths of the psyche, and you will get to the root of the problem. Only then can you get yourself back on the road.

*Spoilers ahead.*

When they finally arrive at her house, a night of bonding ensues, though Reina’s affection for the relationship seems to come and go in waves. Their closeness is interrupted by a child who arrives at their door and claims to be their son. Drew Beckas as Zeke is at the same time endearing and terrifying. While Cory appears to be afraid of the child, he poses no real threat without Reina's direction. In fact, the person who poses the threat is Cory, who is not empathetic or worried for a child who clearly needs help, and he even loses control on him with no real repercussions.

Reina’s reaction to Zeke is an immediate warning sign. She opts not to call the police, the logical thing to do. Instead, she revels in the parental role she has been thrust into, never even so much as questioning where the boy came from and why he is so sure he’s part of the family.

As Cory begins to panic when he can’t locate Reina in the house after waking up, the scene is effectively anxiety-inducing. As he circles around the house, it becomes clear - the Reina he once knew is gone.

The scene where Reina pretended to call the police was especially powerful. She was lulling Cory into a false sense of security, then coaxing him to do what she wanted while promising everything was going to be okay when it really wouldn’t be, as he had with her.

It’s challenging for me to determine this take on abortion, being a staunchly pro-choice female. I loved the dissection of a toxic male’s subconscious, and it was gratifying in a way that Cory got the tables turned on him - being made more “agreeable” to do something he didn’t want to do. However, the film did still come off as anti-abortion in many ways; Zeke is foreboding but ultimately innocent and not understanding why his dad doesn’t want him. He accuses Reina of “letting his dad hurt him” (fetuses cannot feel pain but a major argument for the pro-life movement is that they think they can.) Part of Zeke’s role was making Reina feel guilty about her procedure, and the title itself - This Is OUR Home - alludes to the fact that Zeke deserves a spot at the table because it’s just as much his home as it is hers. Did the abortion ultimately make Reina go crazy? Is she trying to make it up to him by becoming a doting mother now that she’s been given a second chance? (Edit: I spoke with Policano on this issue, and as a producer and the co-lead, she provided more insight - that the abortion was a bad thing only because Reina didn't want it, and that the villainy was in Corey's takeover of her body agency.)

I did appreciate that the scenes following her abortion were realistic. Some are under the impression that an abortion is a quick procedure that once it’s done, it’s done. But most people who have had one would paint a different picture, much closer to the one that we see in This Is Our Home; sickness, pain, depression, anger - especially for someone who feels forced into the decision.

My main question is: does Zeke exist outside of the consciousness of Cory and Reina? He’s not a fetus or an infant, he’s much older. Cory can see him and interact with him. But it was almost as if Reina manifested him from the depths of her deepest pain. My secondary questions come from the significance of the deep room. Was that where Reina’s brother died? Did she experience a different kind of childhood trauma there? Was it where her father grieved her brother? What brought her to the realization that she needed to take her destiny into her own hands? Is there a supernatural element to the room, or is it a form of submersion tank?

Worth Watching?

While I don’t agree with some of the messaging, I still think it’s a great film. The camera work is strong, and there is a sense of unease that never leaves you as you watch. There were several times I thought to myself, “What the hell is happening right now??” The pacing is done right, save for a few drawn-out scenes, (one of them being in slow-mo for a reason I couldn’t pick up on), which could have been cut down while still remaining relevant. The final scene is long but powerful - wherever Reina goes, there Zeke will be. Like Zeke, this is a film that sticks with you - you’ll be thinking about it for days. 

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