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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Dir. James Ashcroft

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

Nobody makes cold ferocious movies like those down under and COMING HOME IN THE DARK is no different. Where WOLF CREEK, THE LOVED ONES, BAD TASTE, KILLING GROUND and HOUNDS OF LOVE leave a nasty visceral nightmare, this adds to the collection by being another tense and often unwatchable horrors of the world. In its opening minutes, the film sets its tone and like the geographical difference between the UK and New Zealand, the tone is far down under.

At just 90 minutes, this is a very long and enduring pain to watch, for some there may be some enjoyment but on the whole it's an uber violent, relentless assault on human senses and torturous as the pain felt by the victims. Playing on emotional responses as opposed to physical, this is not a film for enjoyment but endurement.

There's a truly menacing performance from Danielle Gillies but behind the darkness of the night, the menace really does begin to get under the skin. A less charismatic but bullyish persona seems to perpetrate into the surrounding cast and like a virus spreads across those around him, draining them of hope, personality and life (quite literally).

There is something about this genre of cinema that is just evil. Similar films include EDEN LAKE, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and ILS, here there is not an ounce of saviour. Like those films, this is one that plays towards emotion, emotive horror if you will, and uses familiarity and personal grounded fears into reality. From the outset the worst has happened, no matter how degrading and painful what follows becomes, there is no redemption. There are turning points, moments within the fill, that give hope for survival but in doing so question what is survival when there's nothing to return to.

James Ashcroft has created something so repulsive that it succeeds in its purpose but otherwise makes itself untouchable. COMING HOME IN THE DARK is a film you will watch only once and doesn't deserve repeat viewings. For those able to stomach it's stretched out torture across a backroad trip will find little but misery and soulless characters filling the backstreets of the Australian outback. It's violent, it's emotionally void and more importantly, the reflections of good character are that it's believable, forevermore blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

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