Fantastic Fest Review: HOMEWRECKER Is Doing The Best It Can

A better hand at humor would have made this so much better.

We all feel like we’re being watched or followed from time to time. None of us are above that baseline of modern-day paranoia. Homewrecker takes a look at what happens when that paranoia is warranted. The film follows the story of Linda (Precious Chong), a woman in her late forties who lives alone; and Michelle (Alex Essoe), an interior designer trying to have her first baby with recent husband Robert (Kris Siddiqi). The two women find their lives intertwined in a series of coincidences that seem perfectly innocuous at first. As the film progresses, we learn that things are a bit more sinister.

A series of unfortunate events start to unfold pretty early into the film, pitting woman against woman in the exact kind of battle you’d expect in a move titled Homewrecker. The story’s not reinventing the wheel, but not every movie needs to. It gets a pass in that regard, but is done a great disservice by its billing as a dark comedy. We often understate just how difficult comedy can be, and this film is a solid representation of what can happen when you don’t take that into account.

You can see attempts at humor in the physical altercations, and a couple of scenes that experiment with banter, but each attempt misses the mark. Not everything can be laugh-out-loud funny, but there’s hardly a grim grin to be found in this one. With that in mind, the slow awkwardness of it all might be totally satisfying for viewers who like to keep it weird.

Wrapped up in the attempt at dark humor is exhausting (and likely completely intentional) commentary on both generations represented in the film. Linda’s the older popular girl who never made it to the party after high school, Michelle’s the exhausting millennial who can’t be bothered to get off her phone. While the former pretends to have achieved all of the confidence that comes with age, both women struggle with the classic “does he really love me” scenario. One just does it with a sledgehammer.

Things go from zero to one hundred in the third act, but not in a way that does Homewrecker any favors. The film does flip the script on one classic homewrecker stereotype, there are some profoundly weird scenes that will stick with you, and you will certainly remember Precious Chong’s performance. But none of that’s enough to save it from the somehow too long eighty-six-minute runtime or the lackluster attempt at dark humor.