Tag Archives: D

HOMEWRECKER

Producers:  Precious Chong, Lex Emanuel, Alex Essoe, Zach Gayne, Josh Mandel, Kyra Rogers and Ben Umstead   Director: Zach Gayne   Screenplay:  Precious Chong and Alex Essoe   Cast: Alex Essoe, Precious Chong, Kris Siddiqi, Anthony Matthew, Christopher Roche, Courtney Gayne, Lexi Gayne and Jeanie Celleja   Distributor: Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment

Grade:  D

A viewer looking for a movie that’s basically a prolonged comic catfight—if there should be anyone like that—is directed to Zach Gayne’s directorial debut, which presumably wants to say something about the fragility of female solidarity but winds up as nothing more than a violent farce based on that old standby, a romantic triangle, though in this instance one of the players is clearly demented. 

Co-written by its stars, “Homewrecker” begins by introducing Michelle (Alex Essoe) and Lynda (Precious Chong) at an exercise class.  Dark-haired, married Michelle is a serious-minded interior decorator and blonde Lynda a flightier motor-mouth who follows her into a coffee bar where she opens her laptop to work.   But Lynda won’t have it; chattering on, she tells Michelle, always looking for a job, that she’s in the market to have her house redone, and invites her to drive there with her to check out the space. 

Once they get there, however, it quickly becomes clear that Lynda’s bonkers.  She rambles on about her high school days, insists that the two play a video game involving “party hunks,” and asks intrusive questions about Michelle’s home life.  When Michelle tries to leave, Lynda will have none of it, resorting to force to keep her captive.  It will eventually be revealed why with the arrival of her boyfriend (Kris Siddiqi).

Most of the running-time is devoted to repeated attempts by Michelle to escape, only to be foiled each time and treated ever more brutally.  The recurrent battles are, one supposes, meant to be amusing, but they’re too nasty to be amusing while not well-enough choreographed or shot (by Delaney Siren) to be genuinely compelling.  The repetitiveness of it all is exacerbated by the scattershot editing (by Gayne and Gary Chan), which makes the string of episodes boring as well  Despite running well under ninety minutes, the picture drags badly, despite the efforts of composer Dough Martsch to perk it up.  

There’s some modest compensation in the garish look of the movie, in which Chong (as art director) seems to have played a prominent role, but it doesn’t make up for her screechy, one-note on-screen performance. Essoe is more subdued as the victimized Michelle, but she can’t make the character seem anything less than a dippy dumbbell.  “Homewrecker” is essentially a two-hander, though Kris Siddiqi shows up toward the close to prove that the women don’t hold a monopoly on mediocre acting.

Though it’s proverbially said that brevity is the soul of wit, the fact that “Homewrecker” is short doesn’t keep it from being silly, unpleasant and dull.

ALONE WOLF

Producers: Gay Iorio, Tony Delgadillo, Charles Ehrlinger, Eliza Ehrlinger, Tina Carlone and Sheila Vossgough   Director: Charles Ehrlinger   Screenplay: Charles Ehrlinger   Cast: Richard de Klerk, Cara Gee, Paul Schackman, James Aaron Oliver, Steve Lewis, Emily Muggleton, Chase Yi. Mason Hafa and Angie Gregory   Distributor: Gravitas Ventures

Grade:  D+

A potentially interesting idea is squandered in Charles Ehrlinger’s would-be thriller “Alone Wolf,” whose potentially intriguing premise is botched by pretensions to depth and inept execution.

Richard de Klerk is Jonathan, who, though not technically agoraphobic, is so convinced that the outside world is a dangerous cesspool of germs and similar threats that he’s kept to his house for years, recommending the same strategy to others.  (The picture’s original title was “Lone Wolf Survival Kit.”)  His only contact with the world is via a monitor through which a deliveryman (Chase Yi) communicates with him as he drops off and takes away boxes at the front door.

Jonathan’s solitude is shattered when a thief named Benny (James Aaron Oliver) shows up to steal the boxes from his stoop, accompanied by his girlfriend Town (Cara Gee).  The deliveryman tries to intervene, only to be pushed aside by Benny; the guy falls to the pavement, hits his head and dies.  Town fights with Benny and begs Jonathan, who’s seen everything, to let her in, and despite his hesitation, he does.

That’s the beginning of a relationship that changes Jonathan’s life.  He’ll be dragged out of the house by the police for questioning, and though his lawyer (Paul Schackman) advises him not to put them off, he claims to know nothing in order to protect Town.  Remembering his own troubled childhood, he’ll also get involved in trying to reconnect her with her daughter Sarah (Emily Muggleton).  But of course Billy is lurking in the background, ready to strike, and in the end his does in an unpleasantly violent climax that tests the bond Jonathan and Town have formed along the way.

None of this carries much emotional weight, largely because Ehrlinger’s screenplay is clumsily constructed, his direction flaccid, and the acting either somnolent (de Klerk) or overwrought (Gee, Oliver, and Steve Lewis as a detective).  The technical side of things—Marie Jach’s production design, Barry Idoine’s cinematography, James Griffiths’ score—is indifferent at best, and the editing by Ehrlinger and Mark Myers seems aimless. 

The result is a purported thriller that generates little tension or suspense.  Leave this toothless “Wolf” to its solitude.