Home Movie Christopher Denham

Home Movie Christopher Denham
While most low budget horror movies from first-time writer/directors turn out to be complete and utter garbage, Denham's seriously disturbing rumination about the need to categorize children's behaviour shows a sharp understanding of both budgetary limitations and the potential of the cinematic form. Told from the perspective of videos shot mostly on major holidays, Home Movie documents the gradual process of coming to terms with that which we deny. David Poe (Adrian Pasdar), a modern priest, and his psychiatrist wife Clare (Cady McClain) take very different approaches to the increasingly peculiar behaviours of their children (Austin Williams and Amber Joy Williams). David believes that satanic possession might be at play, while Clare is certain that her husband, who was abused in childhood, is in turn abusing their children in secret. These concerns become secondary, however, as the kids' preoccupation with animal mutilation becomes increasingly severe. While some subtext exists in the form of societal insanity and the intellectuals' need to remove themselves from it, the majority of the film examines the human need to categorize and define absolutely everything - even their children. The parallels between religion and science aren't particularly subtle but thankfully avoid preachy exposition, as the narrative succeeds in maintaining an observatory quality that rightfully feels like watching an edited series of home movies. Audience investment comes from not only a consistent vision and appropriate direction but from the performers as well, since even a trace of bad acting in these "reality"-based movies can easily take a viewer out of the moment. Pasdar and McClain are believable as parents whose denial of a problem only makes it worse, and the two child actors are sufficiently disturbing, in an often uncomfortable manner. Included with the DVD is a "making of" featurette, where Denham discusses the ideas behind the film and how he did not initially expect name actors to show an interest in his low budget social thriller. On the amusing side are interviews with the child actors where they talk about being attracted to the script. (Anchor Bay)