By David Dent
Sebastian Godwin’s first feature (of sorts, it’s barely over an hour long) sees Holly (Aisling Loftus) travelling with her new husband Richard (Tom Goodman-Hill) to his family home in Norfolk. It’s a tense time for Holly – Richard’s first wife Nina will be there with his kids and it’s the first time she’ll be meeting teenagers Ralph (Lukas Rolph) and Lucia (Hattie Gotobed), and little Anna (Rafiella Chapman).
But when they arrive, Nina isn’t around and the kids have been left to fend for themselves. Holly immediately picks up an odd bond between the trio and Richard, something stronger than mere blood ties; a country family, she is aghast to see them catching and killing a goose for dinner, and Richard making liberal with the wine for all the family.
Holly initially decides to go with the flow and play along with the family’s odd lifestyle, but the longer she stays in the house the more she realises that nothing between them is quite right, including the man she’s recently married.
‘Homebound’ becomes progressively nasty as Holly struggles to understand the dynamics – and secrets – at the heart of her new family. It had the opportunity to be more unpleasant, but Godwin holds back on the shocks in favour of a growing unease, which can occasionally make the film feel a little undercooked.
The atmosphere is helped by some great performances, mainly from Richard’s three children (Gotobed in particular is subtly menacing) and Aisling Loftus is convincingly caught between love and fear; one also wonders whether this is another role for Goodman Hill which echoes his recent real life abrupt marriage walk out – he has famously said that the realities of his private life have helped him get in to character for parts like these.
‘Homebound’ is helped no end by a script which avoids cliché even if the scenario is familiar, and an authentically jarring soundtrack from Jeremy Warmsley. It may be a little slight, but it certainly has its moments.
Homebound is in cinemas now and now on digital from Blue Finch Film Releasing