HELL IS WHERE THE HOME IS (a.k.a. Trespassers) **** USA 2018 Dir: Orson Oblowitz. 88 mins
Jonathan Snipes’ dynamic original score – channelling Ennio Morricone’s giallo work complete with Edda Dell Orso-style female vocals – drives this compelling riff on home invasion horror. A pair of troubled, attractive couples take refuge at a rented Mojave Desert villa for the weekend: one pair are struggling with the fallout from the recent loss of a child, while the high school best friend staying with them is sexy and free spirited and has a past history with our hero.
The narrative path strays into suspenseful STRANGERS territory when a sweet but uneasy Fairuza Balk shows up, claiming to know the owners and insisting she needs to call a tow truck for her broken down car. Hot headed Jonathan Howard’s insistence that they never should have opened the door to begin with proves predictably correct as an intense confrontation with Balk results in a gruesome death and the dilemma of what the hell to do next.
It’s a gripping thriller punctuated by startling eyeball-impaling trauma and with one of horror’s many duplicitous law enforcement officers working in tandem with the central heavies. It does venture into familiar tied-to-a-chair-and-tortured territory and the Mexican villains are a tad hokey, but it’s bloody, taut and well-acted, with a decent final girl and an effective head-pummelling climax.
Review by Steven West