Alex Essoe has appeared in quite a few genre films over the last few years, From better-known films such as Starry Eyes and Doctor Sleep to Midnighters, Red Island and Faceless. The dark comedy Homewrecker sees her reuniting with frequent collaborator Zach Gayne (States, Found Viral) who directs and co-wrote the script with Essoe and her co-star Precious Chong. The result is a very Canadian take on films like Single White Female and Misery.
Michelle (Alex Essoe) is sitting having coffee and trying to work when Linda (Precious Chong, Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It) sits down at her table. They’ve met in some of several fitness classes they coincidentally share. Over coffee, Linda asks Michelle, who is an interior decorator, if she’ll take a look at her place. She obviously doesn’t want to but does anyway.
She should have gone with her instincts. Once there her new friend isn’t willing to let her leave. She’s so unwilling in fact, that Michelle finds herself drugged and held captive.
Using the stereotype of overly polite Canadians, Homewrecker takes a poke at society’s expectations of us. And our attempts to avoid conflict at all costs. Hell, at times I wondered if Michelle was simply to polite to smash a window and escape. She’s certainly to polite to put her foot down and leave while she still could have.
Politeness is, of course, eventually set aside in favour of violence. And I’m of two minds about Homewrecker’s fight scenes. On the one hand, it looks realistic. Like we would expect from two fit but untrained women. However, as cinematic brawling, it’s very unsatisfying and felt off to me. That though is probably the result of too many films where everyone fighting is an expert.
Precious Chong really impressed me, playing a character who goes back and forth from dangerously psychotic to sad and tragic. She has to keep selling us on both sides of Linda’s personality as much of the script depends on us not knowing how to feel about her. Essoe also does a great job with the changes her character is put through. But Homewrecker gives Chong much more of a showcase.
This all builds to a climax I didn’t see coming. Arguments can be made both in favour of it and that it’s far fetched. Either way though, it goes back to the film’s main theme about avoiding conflict. If only somebody had asked some hard questions…
While it doesn’t always live up to its festival hype, Homewrecker is certainly an enjoyable film. Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment will release it to drive-ins on July 3rd. It arrives on DVD/Digital July 7th. Check the film’s Facebook page for more details.