Kidnapping Comedy-Thriller ‘Homewrecker’ Succeeds on its Own Trashy Terms

by Redmond Bacon

Homewrecker’s Claustrophobic Tone Hits Close to Home

The dangers of being too polite for your own good are expertly rendered in Homewrecker, a simple yet effective shocker from Uncork’d Entertainment. A cheap, dirty yet enjoyable experience, Homewrecker more or less succeeds on its own modest, trashy terms.  

Linda (Precious Chong) is a deeply lonely woman, with the kind of face and sad body language easy to feel pity for. First meeting the slim, young, attractive Michelle (Alex Essoe) at a dance class, she awkwardly forces herself into her personal space at a café. Michelle tries to drop some inoffensive hints — “It’s a great place to get work done” she says, while staring at her laptop— but Linda is completely nonplussed, eventually convincing the poor Michelle to join her for a drink at home. Michelle agrees, seemingly out of an inability to say “no” — unaware that she is walking into a carefully laid trap. 

The final result is a fun, no-brains two-hander that uses the generational divide as a springboard (or, more probably, excuse) for inter-feminine violence. Linda is a deeply nostalgic member of Generation X, forcing Michelle to watch the ultra-cheesy 80s film Girls Just Want to Have Fun, play bizarre board games, and talk about “boys”. On the other hand, Michelle seems like a digitally savvy woman with almost everything neatly held together. Yet while these corny remnants of pop culture seem pointedly outdated — as if to say Linda herself is a relic of a former time with no place in the modern world — any real analysis of generation divide is missed here. Linda’s hatred of millennials seems more comic than cutting; her intense dislike of smartphone usage often bordering on the absurd.

Homewrecker

But any kind of genuine insight matters little over this tiny yet deeply entertaining 75-minute film. Chong, for one, is brilliant. She has a lot of fun with the role, starting off as someone merely on the verge of a nervous breakdown before descending into full-fledged lunacy — a high point capturing her singing along to Lisa Loeb’s trapped-in-the-90s “Stay (I Missed You)”. Likewise, Alex Essoe provides a masterclass of Canadian politeness, unafraid to speak her actual mind — even in the throes of genuine danger — for fear of causing offence. And while Linda’s arc eventually loses focus — submerged under a barrage of ‘crazy woman’ tropes — the ever-shifting, unexpected dynamic between the two women help the movie stay fresh. 

This is complemented by Zach Gayne’s directing style, making effective use of split-screens as opposed to cross-cutting to depict fight-and-flight scenes. Taking place against a surprisingly complex script, rife with betrayed lovers and long-simmering secrets, as well as containing a pitch-perfect landing, and Homewrecker gets a lot of mileage out of its low-budget and simple premise. Perhaps on another day, I wouldn’t be so generous; yet given the immense amount of time we have all spent locked up by ourselves against our will, Homewrecker’s claustrophobic tone hits very close to home. 

  • Redmond Bacon

Homewrecker opens in select theaters and Drive-Ins July 3, 2020

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