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[Fantastic Fest ’21] ‘Homebound’ review: Excellent tension and mystery

Great writing and acting.

Homebound is further proof that character driven horror movies offer some great scares without having to use outrageous tactics. Holly (Aisling Loftus) is understandably worried about meeting her new husband Richard’s (Tom Goodman-Hill) kids for the first time. Her initial trepidation turns out to be justified as two of the three children obviously do not want Holly around. The longer the new couple stays, the more aggressive the kids become. Holly soon decides she has to leave, but is she too late?

The score brings an air of paranoia and suspense. The music can also be beautiful at times. This gives Homebound an interesting atmosphere. It is consistently eerie but it also has moments of undeniable beauty. Homebound is powered by a pair of mysteries. The first is what is wrong with the kids. This plays into the other question: what is going on with Richard’s ex-wife, Nina? As the plot progresses, things become more tangled. 

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The small cast do an excellent job. Holly is filled with emotion while Richard gets more erratic over the course of Homebound. The kids all do great work. They are tasked to get over the mystery while saying very little. After a solid build, Homebound has a surprisingly formulaic ending. Everything gets tied up a little too nicely, but there are somehow still unanswered questions. It does not ruin the movie, but it is surprising to see so little care put into the most important aspect.

[Fantastic Fest '21] 'Homebound' review: Excellent tension and mystery

Overall, the film is still worth watching. The music sets the mood perfectly while the story will keep audiences wondering what is happening. The small ensemble cast excel in their roles. The ending does not hit as intended, but Homebound does enough good leading up to the finale that it is more disappointing than damaging.

Homebound is available on FF@Home through October 3. Check out AIPT’s ongoing coverage.

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