Sunday, July 12, 2009

FILM REVIEW: Mischa Barton's "Homecoming"

Mike (Matt Long from "Jack and Bobby") returns to his hometown to retire his high school football jersey. He intended on introducing his college girlfriend Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup from "90210") to his family, cementing their committed relationship, but he didn't expect his high school girlfriend Shelby (Mischa Barton from "The O.C.") to still be in love with him. So in love in fact that after accidentally hitting a drunk Elizabeth with her car, she kidnaps her and holds her hostage while she attempts to seduce an oblivious Mike with nostalgia and bathroom sex.

I'd say for teen audiences, it's pretty tame—hardly any gore or dark forest chases—and for adult audiences, it's juvenile and overly predictable. I'm unbelievably terrified of horror films, but I never jumped along with the audience. Every ax-wielding, gun-toting moment was completely expected. Where it excelled, however, were in the sadistic moments, where you were truly at Shelby's mercy, like the part when she resets Elizabeth's broken ankle, tugging at your gag reflex, and during the second escape attempt when she tells her, "I want you to start appreciating my hospitality," in her best psycho snarl. I, personally, would've appreciated a closer look at who she was, following her train of thought instead of everybody's. There was no solid point of view. One moment we were with Elizabeth and then we were with Mike and then we were with Shelby. If they centered the point of view around the sadist—in an American Psycho kind of way—we would've been far more terrified.

The writers said they were trying to do a cross between Misery and Swimfan to appeal to a younger and newer generation. But to maintain that Shelby was hot, they couldn't make her too crazy, and with the small budget there weren't too many locations where she could lose her mind.

The performances were on par with the material given to the actor. So, Barton was as convincingly scary as the content allowed her to be. After all, she does have experience being emotionally irrational from her days on "The O.C." Stroup teetered on the fine line of victim and heroine. But to be honest, it's always been hard to see her feign vulnerability ever since she stirred up trouble on the first season of "90210." Mike's cop cousin played by Michael Landes (Possession) was the comic relief and he was as funny as his lines, which were delivered effectively. And, of course, Long has mastered the art of playing every girl's dream from "Jack & Bobby" to Sydney White. He really needs to muck up his reputation before he gets eternally typecast.

Ultimately, as horror films go, it was better than the campy fair, but not as good as some of the worst, which includes Swimfan.

Release Date: July 17th
Watch the Trailer!

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