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Title: Home Sweet Hell

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:71

Marriage is tough work. It seems easy at first, but when you think about adding in kids, dual income jobs, stresses on the intimate life, and it starts wearing on a person. It also makes it a lot harder to deal with when you’re married to someone who’s just plain monkey to the walls crazy! Don Champagne (Patrick Wilson) seems like he has the life. He’s running a successful furniture and rug store, has two beautiful children and is married to Mona (Katherine Heigl), a stunningly beautiful specimen of a woman. The only problem is that their picture perfect life in suburbia is a sham. She is OCD and controlling to the nth degree and is leaving poor Don frustrated and lonely. As with a lot of people under these circumstances, Don strays with a beautiful coworker named Dusty (Jordana Brewster), and finds out the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Dusty turns the tables on Don by blackmailing him with a fake pregnancy for more money than he has available. Confessing to Mona he hunkers down for the worst, only to realize that Mona’s worst is a lot more extreme than his version. The already OCD Mona is a lot colder and more calculating than the thought, as she forces her weak willed husband on a mission to kill Dusty and take care of the problem. Don does his best, but it’s only a matter of time before his reservoir of willpower runs out. Which of course leaves Mona in the driver’s seat, yet again.

If things weren’t already bad enough, Don and Mona find out that Dusty wasn’t working alone. It seems she was part of crew backed by her domineering biker boyfriend, Murphy (A.J. Buckley), who still wants the money that Dusty was extorting out of Don. Now Mona has to drag along the more and more unwilling Don in a bloodbath of epic proportions as the crazed house wife tries to hack, slash and generally manhandle anyone who gets in her way of preserving her picture perfect life in the pleasant suburbia. Even if the blood on her hands has to be scrubbed off with industrial strength cleaner and enough Prozac to bankrupt Donald Trump.

Katherine Heigl as Mona is the binding force to this pitch black drama/comedy/horror movie, as she paints the walls red with blood and crazed feminine hormones along the way. She’s a mentally unbalanced woman who will stop at nothing to protect her little dreams of mansion with white picket fences and the perfect two children who are deemed little angels. Mona wraps up her view on life with the statement to her children “perception is everything”. Mona sticks to that mantra and does everything in her demented power to keep that image perception a good one, even if the underside of that is rotting and disgusting. Don is a bit of a namby pamby, but it’s not hard to see why when you look at his wife’s domineering personality. He can’t breathe or look left without her express permission or there will be dire consequences. Don still loves his wife, but it becomes clear throughout the film that the romance is quickly fading. Especially as the body count starts rising in Mona’s quest for covering up Don’s indiscretion with Dusty.

I’m not sure how to take the film, as it had a hard time deciding whether or not it wanted to be a pitch black comedy, or a family drama. The tones kept switching so fast and the drama elements were taken so seriously that I had to sit back and puzzle over whether I was supposed to laugh or just feel disturbed as Mona slices and dices her way through the movie. I have to say I laughed a good bit more than I felt dramatically moved, but the tone was so pitch black that it was more of a nervous chuckle than an outright guffa of laughter. The pacing was good for about the first 45 minutes, but even at 98 minutes I felt it was too long by about 30 minutes. The sub plot with Murphy and his henchmen just stretched on and had me starting to lose interest in the last act. The ending, though, is a gleeful bit of destruction that leaves the story satisfying, yet strangely hollow at the same time. The concept was great, with the crazed wife and all (“Gone Girl” pulled it off beautifully), but the actual execution was a bit sketchy to say the least.


Rated R for violence, language, sexual content and some drug use

Video :4stars:
Sony’s 2.35:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray disc looks quite good, with lots of bright and cheery scenes that are well saturated with lush colors, especially the beautiful and serene suburban house that Don and Mona occupy. Greens and whites and blues are resplendent and the black levels in the darker scenes look very well done, with no signs of crush or washed out blacks. The contrast levels are excellent, but the colors are pushed a tad warm sometimes, which tends to give skin tones a reddish push to them. Detail is simply fantastic, as you can see every little fiber on the clothing and every drop of liquid blood as Mona’s rampage amps up in the latter half of the film. The image looks slightly glossy and digital, which almost looks soft upon first impression, but really is just that glisten that certain digital presentations have. Definitely an A looking transfer for sure.

Audio :4stars:
Interestingly enough, Sony has given us not one, not two, but THREE lossless DTS-HD MA audio tracks today in English, Spanish and French so there is no shortage of excellent audio presentations. Being that I’m a bit rusty in my High school Spanish and College level French I’ll stick to the English track for today’s review. The movie is decidedly front heavy with the majority of the work being laid on the shoulders of the dialog. Vocals are crisp and clean, locked to that center channel as expected, with some mild panning effects in front sound stage. The surround channels give some solid directionality to the track as the score sets the creepy mood with an overly cheerful sound track that is oddly resonating with the horrible happenings on screen. Ambient noises like Murphy’s motorcycle and gunshots bleed through into the surrounds and the LFE channels adds some very nice weight to the low end of the film, giving the gunshots and door slams a good bit of a punch to them.

Extras :2.5stars:

• Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes
• Champagne Furniture & Rugs Commercial
• Suburban Butchery: Making Home Sweet Hell
• Trailers

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Home Sweet Hell” tries, it really does, but the movie stumbles a bit too many times to really rise above the simple plot line. It’s ridiculously cheery at times, which makes it hard to take seriously, and at other times it delves too deep into serious drama that the black comedy has a hard time sticking to all the blood and guts hanging from the ceiling. The idea behind it is fantastic, as horror/drama/comedy and a little bit of romance certainly is an idea that doesn’t come along very often, but it founders in its own uneven pacing and ends up being just semi-decent. The audio and video presentation by Sony are very solid though, and if you’re into it I suggest giving it a rental, otherwise I’d honestly just skip it myself.

Additional Information:

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jordana Brewster, Patrick Wilson, Jim Belushi
Directed by: Anthony Burns
Written by: Carlo Allen, Ted Elrick
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DTS-HD MA
Studio: Sony
Rated: R
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 7th 2015

Buy Home Sweet Hell On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Skip It

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