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By Mark Bell | June 29, 2014

Che Patterson and Kurt Volkan’s feature film, Home Entertainment, concerns the harassment of a young newlywed couple in their home. After Jay (Frank Angelini) and Jennie (Christie McDonald) return from their honeymoon, they begin receiving random phone calls and hang-ups, and find elements of their home disturbed, such as the defaced picture of the couple together. As they try to figure out what’s going on, the couple reveal pieces of their past that they’ve kept from one another, particularly that Jennie used to have a stalker. As the incidents around the house escalate, amid other personal dramas, time begins to run out for the couple.

In the opening of the film, we see a mysterious figure going about setting up cameras. This is the introduction to the film’s compositional perspective and aesthetic, that most of what you see throughout the film comes from a camera hidden somewhere in Jay and Jennie’s home. This leads to a voyeuristic feel, obviously, but also a detached one.

This results in a separation that can be daunting to overcome for an audience. You never find yourself connecting with the characters, or find a reason to care beyond what natural empathy you might have. Thus, you watch the film wondering what might happen next, but not really caring all that much to find out.

Plus, to a certain extent, you can predict what is going to happen. Certain plot developments are too obvious and simple, and anyone who has seen their fair share of thrillers can detect where this one will end up. For this reason, the film is riding on the experience the audience has throughout to overcome any familiarity or predictability of the story.

Unfortunately, for me, that experience wasn’t positive. Mostly I kept waiting for the film to do something more creative or unique with its basic idea, and show me something new or memorable. When it doesn’t, I was stuck with my non-caring for anyone in my film, which then became a disinterest in what was going to happen. Overall, I was bored.

I think the film relies too heavily on its main idea, that someone is watching this unaware couple in their home and then messing with them in subtle, and eventually not-so-subtle, ways that it fails to really do much of interest with that idea. It’s creepy, sure, but I was hopeful for more than just some attempted jump scares and red herrings. Ultimately, though, it’s hard to do much more than it does, because it commits to the hidden camera idea; you’re not going to get those really intense, personal, emotional moments when your predominant view is like that of a distant fly on the wall. Thus everything has to be broad, and the impact dissipates.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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