Saturday, October 2, 2021

Coming Home In The Dark Review: A Tense Indie Experience And Wild Ride

Directed by  James Ashcroft	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   James Ashcroft	 Eli Kent	 Owen Marshall	...	(Based on the short story by)Cast (in credits order) complete, awaiting verification   Matthias Luafutu	Matthias Luafutu	...	Tubs Miriama McDowell	Miriama McDowell	...	Jill Erik Thomson	Erik Thomson	...	Hoaggie Billy Paratene	Billy Paratene	...	Maika Frankie Paratene	Frankie Paratene	...	Jordan Desray Armstrong	Desray Armstrong	...	Traffic Patrol Officer Alan Palmer	Alan Palmer	...	Paul Daniel Gillies	Daniel Gillies	...	Mandrake Ike Hamon	Ike Hamon	...	Male Tourist Sam Carter	Sam Carter	...	Ten Year Old Boy Bailey Cowan	Bailey Cowan	...	Kynan Timon Zeiss	Timon Zeiss	...	Josh Tioti O'Donnell	Tioti O'Donnell	...	Caleb Kaira O'Donnell	Kaira O'Donnell	...	Jess

Release date: October 1, 2021
Running time: 92 minutes
Director: James Ashcroft
Writers: Eli Kent, James Ashcroft
Starring: Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Miriama McDowell, Matthias Luafutu, Billy Paratene, Frankie Paratene, Bailey Cowan

A family’s idyllic outing at an isolated coastline descends into terror when high school teacher Alan ‘Hoaggie’ Hoaganraad, his wife Jill, and stepsons Maika and Jordon unexpectedly come across a pair of murderous drifters​ - ​the enigmatic psychopath Mandrake and his hulking man-child accomplice Tubs​ - who thrust them into a ​nightmare road trip. At first, the family’s terror seems to be born of a random encounter with two sociopaths​, b​ut as the night drags​​ on​,​ Hoaggie and Jill realize that this nightmare ​was set in motion 20 years earlier​.

Coming Home In The Dark starts with some really beautiful visuals before plunging you into a dark and sinister journey.  The movie itself is a very good example of indie filmmaking, with a small cast, limited situation, and a film that makes the most of these aspects.  The film mostly takes place in a car with much of the tension introduced with some fantastic acting and writing.  The movie doesn't go for flash, this is a gritty, tense story that will have you on edge throughout.  Literally I was holding my breath waiting for some things to happen, only to be shocked when they actually occurred. 

And the story of Coming Home In The Dark finds terror in what should be the mundane.  What starts off as an idyllic afternoon turns horrifying with a chance encounter with some individuals that won't let the family go and won't let up.  The individuals don't say much of what is happening, but let the unease in the air build as you wonder what will happen next.  The uncertainty is what makes this film such a tense experience, with almost no hints to guide the viewer throughout the night.  It is so interesting that the antagonists almost never yell; they keep their cool and demand obedience and enact punishment with a cold vengeance that is all the more unsettling.  And the ruthlessness of the characters lends to this uncertainty, with a brilliant performance by Daniel Gillies to keep the tension high.  But that fear that he invokes must have a recipient, and that is masterfully done by Thompson and McDowell, the main victims in this strange event. 

And although the film is a relatively quiet endeavor, which heightens the tension, there are splashes of music that help to set the tone.  There is a really impactful one later in the film that heightens an already impressive scene.  However, the ending of the film was a let down for me.  It had a good progression and an ending that wasn't uncalled for, but I thought one of the characters acted strangely to pull everything together.  However, as with the family's experience, the journey itself is the important part of the story.

Coming Home In The Dark is an indie film that masterfully uses all it has to offer, with a tense story, brilliant performances, and an unsettling encounter that will have you holding your breath.

Watch it.

Desray Armstrong	...	producer James Ashcroft	...	executive producer Catherine Fitzgerald	...	producer Mike Minogue	...	producerCinematography by  Matt Henley	Film Editing by  Annie Collins	Production Design by  Philip Gibson	 Kate Logan	Costume Design by  Gabrielle Stevenson	Makeup Department  Michele Perry	...	makeup designer Lucy-Belle Willcox	...	makeup artistSecond Unit Director or Assistant Director  Ben Bamford	...	third assistant director Robin Wilson	...	first assistant directorArt Department  Taylor Nixon	...	Art AssistantSound Department  Joel Anscombe-Smith	...	sound recordist Jason Canovas	...	Supervising Sound Editor Tim Chaproniere	...	re-recording mixer Yong-Le Chong	...	sound effects editor James Dunlop	...	boom operator Alexis Feodoroff	...	re-recording mixer Amanda Heatley	...	Post Production Producer Matthew Lambourn	...	Supervising Sound Editor Yi Li	...	Assistant sound editor John McKay	...	Supervising Sound Editor Carolyn McLaughlin	...	foley artist George Palmer	...	dialogue editor Callum Scott	...	Foley Recordist Sam Spicer	...	boom operator
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Coming Home In The Dark is in select theaters and on VOD on October 1, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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