By David Dent
A return to the old ‘hider in the house’ sub genre, popular in the 1990s with a slight resurgence in this century via movies like The Resident and Sleep Tight (both 2011).
Bryan and Cassie splash the cash on a 13th century vacation villa in Italy, complete with vineyard and wine cellar thrown in, with a view to patching up their relationship following Cassie’s drunken micro fling. On the surface the pair look like just another beautiful couple in love, but a missed phone call from Cassie’s very brief encounter shows us that Bryan is absolutely not over it; and it looks like the holiday may be a disaster after all.
Into this enter Javier-Bardem-a-like Frederico, from the neighbouring house, who does his knight in shining armour thing when he picks Cassie up on a run, after she has fallen and twisted her ankle. And before you know it, Frederico’s in their kitchen skinning a rabbit with a very awkward menage a trois forming.
Of course if you’ve seen anything like this before you know where it’s going – I mean, the key to the front door is accessed not via a key safe but a hole in the wall? But director George Ratiff, who seems to specialise in films where people go off the rail a bit, knows what he’s doing, and joyfully leaves few genre stones unturned: roving voyeuristic camera – check; jump scares that come to nothing – check; gratuitous shower scenes – double check.
Cast wise it’s business as usual with Bryan and Cassie played by Aaron Breaking Bad Paul and Emily Gone Girl Ratajkowski respectively. Riccardo John Wick 2 Scamarcio plays Frederico with insouciant glee, all intense stares and surface charm – just like a baddie should be (come on, that’s really a spoiler?).
Where Welcome Home departs from the norm is a nice little end coda which for spoiler reasons I’m not going to tell you about, suffice to conclude that it puts a welcome cynical edge on proceedings.
Add in the gorgeous Perugian countryside, admirably shown off by Shelly Johnson (whose CV has rescued a number of stinkers from near unwatchability – 2001’s The Wolfman I’m looking at you) and a very fine wine cellar, and you have a movie which may not be breaking new ground but is good fun.