Before Homewrecker, director Zach Gayne had worked with Canadian actress and comedian Precious Chong for five years. Having always admired her as an actress and comedian, he has now been able to cast her and Alex Essoe as the principal leads in what proves to be an impressive and darkly humorous comedy-horror film for his feature debut.
Chong plays Linda, a brash, over-enthusiastic, middle-aged woman who forcefully befriends demure interior designer Michelle (Alex Essoe) under the guise of wanting her home redecorated. Too tactful to decline her offer, Michelle politely agrees and proceeds to Linda’s home where she is drugged, held captive and forbidden from leaving.
The enforced incarceration will remind viewers of Misery and, indeed, Chong plays the unhinged captor to unnerving levels that echo Kathy Bates’s Academy award-winning performance as Annie Wilkes. However, the script, which was created collaboratively between director and lead actresses, gives the captivity a mordant tragicomic humour.
This is at its most apparent in one of the best scenes of the film where Linda inveigles Michelle into playing a vintage VHS-board game called Party Hunks. As the game is played, it is apparent that Michelle will not be freed, and that Linda’s hilariously cringeworthy participation in it explains her reason for capturing her: mid-life loneliness has arisen from clinging on to the game’s premise that teenage popularity brings long-lasting romantic bliss. Once she has played, Michelle has had enough and, from there, the bloody climax arises.
Like all low-budget horror films, these moments of violence have their crude points and Homewrecker is no exception. However, unashamedly exposing its restrictions furthers its comic appeal. As a result, moments such as the unconvincing choreography and editing of the fight scenes are laid bare to heighten the warped comedy of Michelle’s situation.
While her situation is torturous, for the audience, the comic interplay that arises between jailer and captor makes this a daftly hilarious satire of the consequences of being overly polite.
Homewrecker is released digitally on demand on 24th May 2021.
Watch the trailer for Homewrecker here: