Sarah (Angela Trimbur) and Joseph (Zach Avery) book a weekend away in a luxurious house to deal with problems that have arisen following a difficult time in their marriage. While Joseph wants to tackle things and move past them, Sarah is keen to avoid the issues and invites her best friend Estelle (Janel Parrish) and her boyfriend Victor (Jonathan Howard) to join them. As the drugs and alcohol start to flow, and secrets threaten to be exposed, the foursome is surprised by a knock on the door. Reluctantly opening it, they find a woman (Fairuza Balk) who asks to use the phone so she can call a tow truck but once she steps through the door, they can’t get her to leave.
Hell Is Where the Home Is is a home invasion movie that actually offers something different for the genre. Rather than being a straightforward gore-fest, like so many films of this type, writer Corey Deshon and director Orson Oblowitz focus on character development rather than cheap thrills. For the first time in a home invasion movie, I actually cared about the characters and that made the experience of watching this all the more intense. Of the four characters Joseph is the best developed and he is hiding a secret from his wife that involves her recently arrived best friend.
After a brutal opening, Hell Is Where the Home Is takes time to set the scene and doesn’t rush getting to the violence. You know it’s coming, and Oblowitz makes the tension so intense you’ll find your nerves are shredded by the time it arrives. Before then the film takes a few turns you won’t expect and Fairuza Balk is wonderfully sinister as the mysterious visitor who may, or may not, be genuine in her plea for assistance. Once things do take a turn, the film puts you on the edge-of-your-seat and leaves you there for the remainder.
Zach Avery makes for a very good leading man, bringing the conflict of his character to the fore. He builds fantastic chemistry with Angela Trimbur as Sarah and there’s a sizzle between him and Janel Parrish as Estelle. Parrish, of course best-known for playing Mona in Pretty Little Liars, shows a different side to her abilities. Her character has a Mona-like mean streak but there’s more substance here. She’s fantastic in the more emotional moments. Trimbur and Jonathan Howard, who plays Victor, are also good giving their characters a little more dimension than you’d expect from a horror movie.
Hell Is Where The Home Is seriously impressed me. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the villains that emerge as the film progresses, but that’s a minor complaint. Oblowitz and Deshon could have easily thrown character development out of the window for jumps and scares, but I’m glad they chose not to do that. Hell Is Where The Home Is is one of Arrow Video FrightFest’s biggest surprises so far.
Cast: Angela Trimbur, Zach Avery, Janel Parrish, Jonathan Howard, Carlo Rota, Fairuza Balk Director: Orson Oblowitz Writer: Corey Deshon Certificate: TBC Duration: 88 mins Released by: The Hallivis Brothers / 1inMM Productions