My favorite thing about Ari Aster’s Midsommar before I got to see it for myself was the sheer number of women saying it was the best movie to take your shittiest ex to. I could make a similar case for Omri Dorani’s This is Our Home, which recently played at the Brooklyn Horror Fest…
…Home invasion horror of a different strain, it tells the story of struggling couple Cory (Jeff Ayars) and Reina (Simone Policano) looking for a way to patch up their relationship after a particularly traumatic tragedy. They search for healing and escape by way of running off into the country together, back to Reina’s childhood home, to see if they can find a way back to each other. While there, they discover running from your mistakes isn’t as easy or as freeing as we all hope when a child neither of them has ever seen before shows up on their doorstep claiming to be their son.
Now, look, there are few things in horror movies more terrifying to me than creepy and unannounced children. Maybe the only thing worse in terms of people is especially shitty men who may or may not be aware of how monstrously awful they are. This is Our Home delivers both in spades. If you thought Christian from Midsommar was a nightmare boyfriend I have some news for you. He’s got nothing on Cory.
Even before the kid shows up Cory shows his colors as a man willing to push his girlfriend past her comfort zone in order to get what he wants, no matter how benign or awful what he wants might be. There is a room in the house Reina has never entered—her father’s study—and Cory wants to know what’s behind the still-locked door so badly he all but shames Reina for her disinterest in breaking her childhood rule. She’s never been interested in what’s behind that door, in fact finding out scares her, but Cory doesn’t care about that. It’s a locked door, a forbidden space, and there’s nothing he wants more than to plunder it. That is, of course, until it’s opened. Until he’s faced with the great yawning space of the deep unknown, forced by this new child to confront it.
This is Our Home has a lot going for it, both in terms of story and technicality. The deeper you get into the story, the more pieces you put together about what’s going on, the more horrifying it becomes. The cinematography in some areas is remarkable. One scene, shot in complete darkness, with only dialogue between Reina and the boy (Drew Beckas) to tell us what’s going on, had me so on edge I was squirming in my seat. Creepy children and shitty men aside, nothing is scarier than the things we can’t see.
The most outstanding aspect of the movie for me, though, was the score. It seems to be the one area we don’t think or talk about too much, yet it’s one of the most formative and pivotal aspects of filmmaking. We all know the most iconic scores to the most iconic films, but I don’t often hear much about how scoring in general affects a film. I know it’s good only when it hits me, when it gets deep under my skin, and it did just that with this movie. I find a score can do a lot to make or break any movie, regardless of genre, but some of the most effective for me have been in the horror genre. This one does a phenomenal job of setting up the atmosphere and feel of any given moment of this film.
Incredibly tense, occasionally happy, and truly at its core a heartbreaking examination of loss and strain, This is Our Home was so much more than the haunting kid film I was expecting. There are things about which I still have unanswered questions, but the story is told effectively and with care. It’s horrifying, sad, strange, all at once. Don’t miss it.
By Katelyn Nelson