Written and Directed by Sebastian Godwin
Homebound is in cinemas now and on digital from 4th April 2022 from Blue Finch Film Releasing
Holly joins her new husband Richard in meeting his three children from a previous relationship as it’s his youngest daughter’s birthday. Whilst birthday girl Anna gives Holly a warm reception, teenage siblings Lucia and Ralph are a bit cold towards her, and she gets the impression her presence is unwanted. As Lucia and Ralph continue to make her stay uncomfortable, Holly wonders about Nina, the children’s mother, as she’s the one who invited the pair to the party. With Nina absent and leaving the kids to their own devices, Holly gets the feeling that all is not quite what it seems.
Meeting someone else’s family for the first time is daunting enough but what happens when you come face to face with a group of kids that’d rather see you dead than be with their father. That’s something Holly has to contend with in Sebastian Godwin’s debut feature chiller, HOMEBOUND.
HOMEBOUND is an uncomfortable movie. The kids seem to be simultaneously hiding something whilst doing their very best to drive their father’s new woman away. We sympathise with Holly’s situation. It must be hard meeting your partner’s kids for the first time. Awkward doesn’t begin to describe the situation. However, what’s questionable is how she would marry a man but never meet his kids first before doing so. Not that they need their approval, but you would have thought any normal bloke serious about a woman enough to marry her would at least introduce his family to her before slipping on a ring. It’s also a painful experience for the kids. Though we’re never really told, we get the feeling that their father Richard hasn’t been around much since he split from their mum and now they meet Holly, a stranger, who’s now part of the family, not that they know about the marriage with Holly and Richard deciding to keep it a secret.
There’s many unsettling moments within the film, one of which is the way in which Richard seems to think it’s okay to give his kids, even youngest Anna, various alcoholic drinks, from champagne to wine, with the eldest two even sneaking some vodka. His whole attitude seems a bit off during their stay at the family’s home and you can’t help but wonder what’s really going on and what the true dynamic between them would be like if Holly wasn’t there. The kids are equally unnerving but whatever their father suggests, they go along with. Not that they need him to lead them astray. We’re given a glimpse of the depths of their wickedness which Holly attempts to point out, but their father finds no harm in some of the ‘games’ they play. As a viewer, I felt like screaming at the screen “this is not normal” and could feel Holly’s frustration and concern for her personal safety.
Throughout the movie, you think something monumental is going to happen but it never does. Instead, we’re given a snippet of information that isn’t exactly news to anyone considering the game is given away early on in the movie. It’s hardly a shock or a plot twist but what is surprising is that there was nothing more to the plot than what we see. As a result, it feels quite a shallow story, one that never really gets going and perhaps raises more questions than it delivers answers. No doubt it achieves a creepy atmosphere but with no backbone to prop it up, there’s nothing to really sink your teeth into.