Published Jul 30, 2019First-time feature director Zach Gayne has assembled a charming (and surprisingly shocking) effort with his ramshackle debut Homewrecker. Part Canadian comedy, part gross-out psychological thriller, the film — which had its premiere at Fantasia — certainly has some stronger suits than others. Ultimately, though, it's a worthy endeavour.
Alex Essoe stars as Michelle, a young, uptight yuppie whose perfect (if high-strung) Toronto lifestyle is interrupted by the aggressively friendly Linda (played with an impressively demented yet comedic energy by Precious Chong). What starts as an impromptu coffee-shop hang quickly turns into Linda luring Michelle to her home, the stalker continually taking advantage of her prey's passive Canadian politeness.
It's a middling comedy until the duo's tête-à-tête turns into a physical power struggle, and Linda's maniacal smile reveals a twisted psycho stalker side. Predominantly set at Linda's house, the film becomes a sunny stalker flick with plenty of gruesomely violent laughs.
There's a lot that doesn't work in the film: shots are out of focus, edits are awkward, dialogue feels hammy. But part of that looseness feels intentional — Homewrecker does feature an original score from Built to Spill's slacker shredder Doug Martsch, after all. Plus, there are moments of sheer lunacy that make it all worthwhile, particularly an unhinged Lisa Loeb cover that works as a shocking centrepiece.
Once you get over the initial doldrums and the film marches towards its delightfully gory conclusion (complete with a twist you may or may not have seen coming), you'll be left speechless by the sheer lunacy on display. (Industry Standard Films)