THIS IS OUR HOME
Starring: Simone Policano, Drew Beckas, and Jeff Ayars
Writer: Robert Harmon
Director: Omri Dorani
Indie horror gets another impressively low-fi entry in This is Our Home. The latest feature from writer/director pairing Robert Harmon and Omir Dorani, This is Our Home takes “mumblecore” conventions and visual motifs and injects a truly mean, pulpy energy into them. The result is something between an IFC feature and EC Comics annual. Or as I have been calling it, “a hell of a lot of fun.” Deeply personal and deeply weird, This is Our Home is a real winner.
We open on a couple in the throes of bliss. Cory and Reina (magnetically played by Jeff Ayars and Simone Policano) have just learned they are expecting and are already planning their future. But Harmon and Dorani don’t allow them or the audience much solace. A bracing but shockingly humane sequence follows, suggesting some sort of complication with the pregnancy. “Shockingly humane” is a phrase I keep coming upon when I think about this movie as it deals with the subject matter, at least for a bit, really, really well. Specifically, both Harmon and Dorani, along with their talented leads, never play these scenes cheaply or in a tawdry way. In fact, it gives the whole narrative track a healthy distance and poise that I really was not expecting from something branded “horror.”
But that said, once it turns on the weirdness, it really commits. We then cut to an indeterminate amount of time later; Reina and Cory are still raw. And despite that rawness, the pair decide to go on holiday, back to Reina’s childhood home and attempt to reorient themselves after the tragedy. But things take a dark turn when a child, Zeke (played with an uneasy glee by Drew Beckas), interrupts their vacation, claiming to be their son. The child then burrows into their lives like a precious tick, stirring up the old ghosts of the house and slowly unraveling the couple’s minds.
So, really you get the best of both worlds with This is Our Home. On one hand, you get a really affecting personal drama. One immaculately acted with understated theatricality by its cast, supported by a naturalistic script and intimate direction, mostly comprised of vérité-like handheld shots and stagey blocking. On the other, you have a tensely building nightmare, one that just gets pulpier by the minute, rounding bases between “creepy kid” tropes, ghost stories, and good old fashioned visceral blood-letting! It’s so odd, but also so satisfying. It’s like the movie writes you one check and then ends up cashing four DIFFERENT ones, and they all pay out.
I could go on, but honestly, try to go into this one as blindly as possible. Just know that it’s a blast and one that just happens to have a real heart and mind behind it. Graced with a deeply personal energy and a grandly horrifying build, This is Our Home is a real treat for those seeking rewarding indie horror. Just try to avoid trailers and some more spoilery reviews. I almost feel like I said TOO much here! I just should have stopped at “it rules” and then sent you off from there. But since I didn’t, just trust that This is Our Home is well worth your time and attention.
Until then, parent responsibly, and be seeing you.