DIRECTOR: Macon Blair
WRITER: Macon Blair
Gary Anthony Williams
Ruth is a nurse who is socially awkward and depressed. When she returns home from work after having a pretty rough day, she finds that her house has been burglarised. She decides to take matters into her own hands when the local police are no help and accuse her of being the reason her home was robbed. Ruth teams up with her martial arts obsessed neighbour, Tony who decide to track down the culprits. Underestimating their foes, they soon realise that they've stumbled on a pack of degenerate criminals who aren't afraid to stop anyone who gets in their way.
Going into this latest Netflix original film, I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. I had passed over this film several times because I thought this was a drama and not a dark crime thriller. The poster for the film didn't inspire much confidence. It features Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood looking solemn but tough yet only had me imagining this as some sort of familial story filled with a tonne of drama. I'll be the first to admit that boy, was I ever so very wrong. Never judge a book by its cover as this is a dark and brutal little flick.
The movie begins by introducing us to Ruth. She's a nurse who has a nasty old lady and patient of hers die on her. After her bad day, she heads home and discovers that her home has been robbed. Her day has gone from bad to much worse. When a local detective refuses to help her and blames her for leaving her door unlocked, she starts to question humanity. Why are people such assholes? I was immediately taken and on Ruth's side. I think what works first and foremost is that I actually cared for her. You feel sorry for this character, and she actually grows over the course of the film.
I think one element of the film that I really enjoyed was the tonal shifts. What starts out like an almost dark comedy slowly descends into this crime mystery that suddenly escalates into this extremely bloody and thrilling horror film. I say horror because the third act turns into this very dark survival horror movie. A girl being chased through the backwoods by a man who is trying to kill her. The last time I saw this many tonal changes in a movie was Kill List, which is a film that I absolutely adored. I think that writer/director Macon Blair manages to blend all of these very well.
Heading into a film that I was expecting to be a familial drama which slowly descends into this violent and intense thrill ride had me shocked on several occasions. This has scenes where characters are suddenly killed off in gruesome and bloody fashion that had me jumping out of my seat. This was so gleefully violent that I was so ecstatic by all the carnage on screen. Having the movie with such a dark streak but littered with laugh out loud moments made this watch even better. I can't stress enough how fun this film turned out.
The acting in the movie is standout. Melanie Lynskey carries this flick and delivers a performance that starts out as lost, awkward, uncomfortable, and as it goes on, she becomes stronger and a fighter. She wants to solve this mystery of the criminals who entered her home uninvited and violated her privacy and sanctuary. Her growth and character arc were brilliant. She grows the most. As I've been a fan of her since I first witnessed her in the brilliant Heavenly Creatures. She has such great screen presence and is such a talented actress. Very underrated.
Elijah Wood is in a rather hilarious and very enjoyable supporting role. He's tough and a martial arts crazed, nunchuck-wielding weirdo. I thought his performance was solid and he looks like he's had the most fun in years with this role. Jane Levy is also in a supporting role and delivers a dark and menacing performance. Wait till the third act. She is in Evil Dead territory in I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore. It took me until halfway through the movie to even realise it was her. I was shocked and surprised to see her name on the cast list.
Macon Blair who starred in Blue Ruin and Green Room is behind the camera this time as writer and director. I think he's such a talented actor, but if I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore is anything to go by, we'll be seeing this guy behind the camera a lot more often. Such a talented filmmaker/director and a very entertaining debut from him. I cannot wait to see what he does next. I'm even anticipating his next acting gig. For a movie that is done on such a low budget, I think working close to friend Jeremy Saulnier has rubbed off on this guy. He shows a lot of promise.
Lastly, the only issues that I had myself with I Don't Feel At Home Anymore has some terrible CGI during a scene where a guy runs out in front of a bus and is hit by it. You can see they used visual fx for this moment. For a movie that is relatively grounded in reality, this moment stands out and not in a good way. We also have some moments early on where some of the comedy doesn't always land and feels out of place but as the film goes on, the over the top quality of the comedic scenes start to iron out the kinks, and once the tonal shifts happen, it just goes from strength to strength.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A guy smacks himself in the nose with a flail.
- Someone is pushed over, kicked and punched repeatedly.
- An old man is smacked in the head with a jewellery box.
- Someone is shot in the stomach and chin.
- Someone runs out on the road and is hit by the bus.
- A bullet ricochets off a stone wall and into someone's head.
- A woman has her finger snapped backwards.
- Someone is shot in the head.
- A sawn-off shotgun backfires. blowing apart someone's hand and arm.
- An old man is kicked in the head.
- Someone is hit in the throat and chokes to death.
- Someone is struck in the head with a shotgun handle.
- A man is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach.
- A man is pummelled in the head with rocks.
- Someone has a ninja star thrown into the cheek.
Macon Blair's first feature I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore is a fantastic debut. While the movie has some issues early on with the comedy not always landing. As the film goes on and we start moving into the mystery and the vigilante elements and an incredible third act. You will not likely find a more oddball bloodbath this year. The movie goes from comedy to intense survival horror and at times is as hilarious as it is an edge of your seat. The third act is bloodsoaked and gruesome, and I enjoyed every minute of it. This is a must watch even if you only watch for the performances.