Zach Gayne’s Homewrecker spins the story of obsessive abduction on its head and has a lot of fun along the way. Michelle (Alex Essoe) is an interior designer feeling slightly unfulfilled in life at the moment. After a biking class at her gym, Michelle is spotted by Linda (Precious Chong), who is just a little too forward and aggressive in making friends with Michelle. Linda immediately gets personal about the state of her marriage as it relates to her unhappiness.
After a quick conversation at a coffee shop about Michelle’s design work, Linda talks her into coming to her house to suggest some ideas. Again, Linda is aggressive about making this friendship work going so far as having her watch Girls Just Wanna Have Fun for some “new friend” bonding. It’s getting late in the day, and Michelle has a client to meet. Before she can leave, Linda managed to slip a “roofie” into her drink.
Michelle wakens hours later locked in what appears to be an incomplete nursery, while Linda is exercising in the other room. It’s clear that Linda has no intention of letting her go until the two become best friends.
I love Homewrecker because it exists somewhere in the middle of a horror/thriller/comedy genre. The comedy comes from the story’s extreme situations. For example, Linda promises to let Michelle go if they play one game of the “Party Hunks” VHS board game, where whoever becomes the most popular wins. The horror comes at the end, as the two play cat and mouse with deadly consequences.
“…if they play one game of the ‘Party Hunks’ board game, where whoever becomes the most popular wins.”
The thrills come from the intriguing moments of awkward friendship-making at the start of the film and the character development. While Michelle is the straight-person, Linda’s character is one of the most well-developed villains in indie film. She could be that annoying person, you know so well, and yet, Linda employs specific verbal techniques to “pressure” Michelle into not only coming home with her but then drinking the spiked glass of wine she prepared. She manipulates and controls her victim in a way that is believable. You could learn something about influencing others from Precious Chong’s performance as Linda, but then again, maybe its best you don’t.
What comes across most in Homewrecker is just how much fun the cast and crew were having making this film. It’s like riding a roller coaster knowing that everyone dies at the end. Essoe and Chong have great chemistry considering how their personalities on screen are polar opposites. The real sense of fun comes during these insane fight scenes. Insane in how they are staged. I could also include the tense moments as the two are separated by a wall and filmed in split-screen.
The film has a low-budget indie vibe that adds to its style. The majority of Homewrecker takes place in a single location (a house) and it’s also shot in the daytime, which adds to the overall tone of the film. And then there’s the ending, which has a plausible twist and wraps everything up nicely. I also love a good last line.
"…It’s like riding a roller coaster knowing that everyone dies at the end."