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There seems to be a tendency nowadays to, and it's been gradual, I think, there's a checklist that we have for children; where whenever there is a problem, there's a solution, and we have Oprah, and we have pills and we can sort of prescribe away the problem. I think it's still possible for a family to do everything right, and still have things go terribly wrong.—Director and Writer Christopher Denham
Home Movie documents one family's descent into darkness through compilation of the Poe family's home-made video footage. In the remote woods of upstate New York, David and Clare Poe are attempting to live an idyllic life. However, the Poe children are hiding a dark secret and something is wrong with ten-year old twins, Jack and Emily Poe. To stop them, their parents must enter the nightmare of their children’s minds. As they try to regain control of the children’s lives, the pressing question becomes who will ultimately survive the battle.
Definitely not to be confused with Home Movies.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- Abusive Parents: Dave's apparently were.
- The Alcoholic: Dave.
- And I Must Scream: If too many are taken at once, the kids' pills can cause what is described as "a conscious coma".
- Animal Motifs: Dragons.
- Batter Up: Jack beats the parents with one.
- Bedsheet Ghost: Jack and Emily's hide and seek Halloween costumes.
- Bedsheet Ladder: The kids use one to sneak out on Easter.
- Bound and Gagged: Christian, and later Dave and Clare.
- Brother-Sister Incest: The kids really, really like sleeping in the same bed.
- Call Back: Emily pretends to be dead while Clare is dragging her through the forest in the wagon at the beginning, and in the end Clare is in the exact same position in the wagon as Emily is dragging her back to the house.
- Chase Scene: Near the end the kids chase Clare through the woods.
- Chekhov's Gun: The baseball bat and pills.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Averted; Dave is a Methodist priest.
- Although it should be pointed out that Methodists and Protestants in general, don't have priests.
- Con Lang: The kids make up their own language.
- Creepy Basement
- Creepy Child: AND HOW.
- Creepy Twins
- Cut Phone Lines
- Daylight Horror: When the kids try to kill Christian. It's also just barely dawn as Clare is being chased through the woods.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Jack and Emily pull this, after being prescribed pills, and after the exorcism.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Dave: "Good evening... and welcome to haunted house ghost sightings of... ghosts."
- Demonic Possession: Dave tries exorcising the children at one point. We never find out if they were possessed or not, but given how the film ended, it's doubtful.
- Determinator: Clare was beaten, stabbed in the arm, and drugged, and still managed to make it through the woods and to the road while being chased.
- Don't Go in The Woods
- Downer Ending
- Drop the Hammer: The kids grab one for the big night, but are never actually shown using it.
- Easter Bunny: Dave dresses as a pink one for Easter.
- Emotionless Girl: Emily hums, but never says a word in English for the first half of the film. Even in the second part, she only says a few words.
- Enfant Terrible: The kids gradually escalate to this.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: For some reason, the dog is freaking out on the night Dave and Clare find the kids in bed together.
- Expy: Most likely unintentional, but any anime fan will be reminded of two other incestuous murdering prepubescent sexually fraternal twins. They're glad that they don't look similar enough to cross dress as the other, though not by much.
- Fairy Tale Motifs: The Story of the Dragon and the Paper Bag; it's about a two-headed dragon that disguises itself as a normal child, as apart of a plan to kill and eat all the children in the town it lives near.
- Faux Symbolism: A priest is killed by his children, who he had assumed were possessed, on Easter.
- Foreshadowing: David's story about the two-headed dragon wearing the paper bag over his head, and the scene where the children throw their dinnerware to the ground, is echoed in the final shot of the film--their struggling parents are restrained on the dining table, partially wrapped in garbage bags (in which the dead bugs and leaves were put in the beginning of the film) while the children sit clutching silverware and wearing paper bags over their heads. The ice cream truck mentioned earlier in the film makes an appearance near the end, as well.
- Full Name Ultimatum:
Clare: "Jack Mathias Poe, put that water gun down right now."
Clare: "That's the TV. It's so frickin' loud."
Dave: "... Frickin'?"
Clare: "Yeah, I said frickin', sorry."
- Gross Up Close-Up: The film opens with a zoom in on road kill, complete with swarming flies.
- Hairpin Lockpick: Dave teaches Jack And Emily how to do it. Really, really bad idea.
- Haunted House: Dave starts to think some outside force might be influencing the kids.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Dave teaches the kids stuff like lock picking, and how to tie a bowline. They put these skills to good use.
- Hollywood Exorcism: Dave performs an amateur one on the kids and their room, and actually does mention how archaic the practice is.
- Home Porn Movie: Joked about by Dave, when he brings the anniversary dinner to the showering Clare.
- Hope Spot: When Clare seems like she'll flag down the ice cream truck for help.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: A birthday, Halloween, an anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, and finally Easter.
- Hostile Show Takeover:
Jack: "Hi, welcome to The Jack and Emily Show!".
- Hot Parents
- I'm a Humanitarian: As shown by them eating raw meat, their penchant for biting, and some of their drawings, the kids apparently harbor cannibalistic fantasies. The ending also heavily implies the kids eat their parents, who they have strapped to the table, forks and knives at the ready.
- Incredibly Lame Pun:
Dave: "And on this episode of Clare Poe: Turkey Proctologist Extraordinaire, we--ooh, rectum? Damn near killed 'em! Huh? Huh?"
- In-Universe Camera
- Jittercam: Not often, but certainly present when the camera holder is running.
- Kids Are Cruel: More like "Kids Are Complete Monsters"!
- Kick the Dog: See Troubling Unchildlike Behavior.
- Knife Nut: Emily briefly weilds one.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall
Jack: "Let's have a Staring Contest. I dare you to stare until our movie's done. I bet you you can't."
- Little No: When Dave finds all the fucked up stuff in the kids' clubhouse.
- Malevolent Masked Men: The kids don Halloween demon masks for the big night, and later have paper bags on as they're about to kill their parents.
- Man Child: Dave.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Are the kids just sociopathic, or is there something to Dave's rants about an evil in the house and surrounding area?
- Meganekko: Clare, in her work attire.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: The twins illustrate their plan to attack Christian, another boy at their school, and their secret clubhouse is littered with such drawings.
- Nothing Is Scarier: We don't see Clare and Dave's deaths.
- Oh Crap: When Clare realizes that she and David have been drugged. The viewers get one too when Jack starts filming.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Fuck, those kids are fast!
- Off with His Head: It's a surprise that dog lasted as long as it did.
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Said when Clare sits on the Easter Bunny suit wearing Dave's lap. Turns out it is just a carrot.
- Psycho Smirk
- Removed From the Picture: Dave finds a family photo in the kids' clubhouse, with his and Clare's faces scratched out.
- Self Made Orphans
- Sexy Priest: Dave.
- Shower Scene: Clare gets one, but Sexy Discretion Shot is in play.
- Siblings in Crime
- Significant Birth Date: The twins were born on October 31st, 1997.
- Snuff Film: The kids probably recorded themselves murdering their parents, even if we don't see them do so.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Cheerful ice cream truck music is played over the first bit of the credits.
- Strapped to An Operating Table: The kids tie Christian McNamara to a makeshift one, apparently intent on butchering him.
- Supernatural Proof Father: Dave, initially. He eventually wises up ("Our kids are fucking psychotic!")
- Tastes Like Diabetes: In-universe, the kids' Thanksgiving pilgrim costumes:
Clare: "You guys look so cute, I'm gonna vomit."
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: Clare had an eleven year-old patient who had hallucinations of "a man made of nails" hiding under his bed; after biting each other, the kids also claim "the man in the closet" was responsible.
- Those Things Are Not My Children: Clare says something to this effect near the end.
- The Voiceless: The kids don't talk much, up until the end.
- Too Dumb to Live: The main criticism.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Watching an animal documentary showing wolves eating a carcass, throwing rocks at their dad's head, crucifying the family cat, killing their goldfish and making a sandwich from them, eating raw meat, violently attacking and biting each other and another child, sticking the family dog's head on a spike, very nearly attempted murder of aforementioned child, killing their parents...
- Twisted Christmas: On Christmas morning, the twins kill and crucify the family cat on a decorative cross in the house.
- The Un-Reveal: The film skips Jack's responses to the Rorschach ink blot test, though it's possible he didn't give any actual answers, hence the fast forwarding.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: David, upon finding the family dog's head on a pike.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The nails the kids pour outside the house seems to be setting something up... but nope.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The kids possibly injure themselves in order to make Dave out as an abuser.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: The kids' age isn't really consistent with when Dave and Clare mentioned they got married.
- Fridge Brilliance: Maybe they got pregnant out of wedlock?