Coming Home in the Dark
A provocative yet deftly executed psycho-thriller in which a family are confronted by a pair of merciless criminals in the New Zealand wilderness.
Winding down a desolate road through an endless valley, Alan and Jill stop their car to take their teenage boys on a hike through the New Zealand wilderness. As they rest for a picnic at a clearing overlooking the water, two ominous-looking drifters appear out of nowhere, silently surrounding the peaceful clan and radiating a threat of imminent danger. With a swift act of violence, these men take the family by force, a seemingly random decision that sets them all on a maddening collision course with the ghosts of their pasts—from which there is no escape.
AroView: Not for the faint of heart, this Kiwi thriller is confrontingly grim yet takes the psycho-killer genre into thematic territory it rarely bothers to go. Expanded from an Owen Marshall short story, it excels in all departments (especially the four key performances) and director James Ashcroft (in an impressive debut) knows when to turn the screw and when to restrain. That said, his film puts the viewer in the passenger seat of the worst crime of all and begs for our mercy which, while eventually granted, doesn’t let anyone off the hook.