Festivals

This is Our Home

{BHFF}This Is Our Home Review- The Mystery of Zeke

A psychological minefield, This Is Our Home swings for the invisible fences and delivers an unnerving home run.

Courtesy of Arminius Films

Movies about grief are all the thing right now. Many of them try to capitalize on the emotional weight sorrow has without having to do any of the heavy lifting. This Is Our Home by Omri Dorani doesn’t take the easy way out. It wallows in the pain, suffering, and yes, absolute confusion of this polarizing look into the abyss that is the human soul. Premiering at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival today, this movie is guaranteed to be one everyone is talking about.

It would be easy to call this a creepy kid movie. In all honesty, there is one, and Drew Beckas(Zeke) is as unsettling as they come. This gifted youngster is believably vulnerable yet mysteriously dangerous. His portrayal of the aborted son of Reina and Cary who shows up late one night is the catalyst for the terror to come and the glue that holds the ambitious film together. As he giggles and pouts through childish games and knowing comments he is the personification of ominous portents.

Reina(Simone Policano) and Cory(Jeff Ayars) are a couple in crisis even if they don’t seem to know it, or at least admit it. Policano and Ayars who are a real life couple have an electric chemistry that pops and crackles with undercurrents of depression, distrust, insecurity, and lies. They are not a happy couple until every once in a while they show glimmers of true contentment. It is those moments that the power of the movie get its steam. Ayars’ Cory is an awful boyfriend. Swaggering through life on bravado, wine, and the suppression of others he is a bully with a willing victim. Policano’s Reina is beaten down and down trodden. She is a desperate husk of a person who would rather have a rat for a boyfriend who forces her to have an abortion rather than be on her own. Every woman has been there. Some of us find our voice and self-worth and kick the guy to the curb. In Reina’s case she simply “fixes” the situation.
What do you do when your life has been controlled by one person or another your whole life? Who do we become when belittled into oblivion by those who should build us up the most? Driven to madness Reina becomes the solution to her problem instead of a pathetic bystander in her own sad life. The kind of movie you either love or hate, Dorani is not afraid to take a difficult subject and ask serious questions. Is abortion wrong? Are people who make that decision bad? Does it take a psychological toll on a person? Are women who are controlled by their partners as complacent as the true decision maker, and does it matter? They are all tough concepts to examine and much like Jordan Peele’s Get Out which examined racism in a classic horror film setting, Home seeks to do the same thing with male toxicity and female empowerment.

The couple is introduced to us in the opening moments where they appear happy, almost artificially so, and are celebrating an impending pregnancy. The opening sequence is succinct and effective in setting up both the situation and the personalities of the main players. As the montage continues overlaid by beautiful but haunting classical music we see the woman stricken with sadness and despondency as the man thanks her for doing “something”. It becomes clear an abortion has taken place and it wasn’t Reina’s choice. Through real time interactions about fixing a car tire, and flashbacks the abject disregard this man shows for his mate is unflinchingly shown. Gaslighting at its best, Cory is a master at control and manipulation.

Comparisons to many psychologically powerful films, regardless of the horror elements, can be made. A dash of Witch here, Misery there, and even some Babadook in the dark recesses of Reina’s childhood home. There are several truly unnerving moments, the horror here is all about emotional pain. Similar to Ari Aster’s Midsommar from earlier this Summer, This Is Our Home is about a broken relationship and the emancipation of the repressed victim. More times than not, it is the man who controls the woman. This film shows the horror of a terrible relationship through a kaleidoscope of ever changing weirdness and absolute madness.


Spoilers ahead so stop reading if you haven’t see the movie.

There are questions left at the end that beg further analysis. For example, does Zeke even exist? Both Cory and Reina see the boy so it stands to reason he exists in some capacity. He likely is a ghost who will never age, change, or leave Reina. This is what she wants more than anything else, unconditional unwavering love. Zeke offers that. The questions of his existence matters less than Reina’s belief in him does. Cory did not and so she took steps to help him overcome that issue. Secondly, what is the deep room. This one is harder to define. It is implied very loosely that something may have happened to Reina in the deep room in her childhood and later in a pivotal point of the film. Those who go willingly into the room are changed forever. Zeke and Reina need Cory to want to go in. The transformation can’t happen if he isn’t a willing participant. He declares himself far from on board, so Reina “cures” him of his stubbornness.
This is a brave film that deals with subject matter most would avoid. The film is shot equally as bravely as the focus is firmly on the actors and their picturesque, yet claustrophobic surrounding. Omri Dorani builds tension with uncanny shots and a well placed soundtrack. Cinematographer Thomas Taugher shoots a coldly familiar movie that revels in the presumed saccharine normalcy of home life. Each character has it’s own unique perspective allowing the viewer to shift from person to person seamlessly. As satisfying as it is painful, This Is Our Home is a film that will spark discussion and thought. All good horror films should.

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