The latest offering from director Jared Cohn, supernatural thriller ‘The Domicile’ whilst technically stands a great film doesn’t delve enough into any horror sub-genre to be effective.
Russel Brody, a one-time successful playwright, works diligently on a follow-up play that could land him back in the spotlight he so early craves. With a baby on the way, however, and a strained marriage, stress and frustration take center stage. When his wife accidentally stumbles down the stairs and dies from her injuries, Brody’s mental state goes from bad to one of utter despair.
Leave or take the plot, it’s there and it serves a purpose, ultimately we get to see devastated Russel get pissed try and write his play see dead wife, rinse and repeat.
Positively, production value and photography are both absolutely on the money, a couple of outstanding external shots of the property really were a highlight, unfortunately that seems to be the limit of any thoughtful cinematography to be found.
Simply put the film lacks in delivering fear, becoming quite the problem, I was genuinely impressed with the apparitions appearance both in makeup and costume, given the right scenario it could have been terrifying but it wasn’t to be, Estella’s sister creeping down the stairs in a semi-tranquilized state was however effective and a nice nod to J-Horror ‘The Grudge’. There were no real jump-scares and any attempt to add suspense were completely hampered with either lingering shots on the apparition or scripted sequences lacking in imagination, a further scene in the end credits highlights this by showing us the creepiest shot of the entire film………..a stage of atmosphere that wasn’t replicated anywhere in the previous 80 minutes, what a kick in the balls!
Presentation for the most part is good, aided by a very low cast number acting is overall acceptable – it has its moments mainly from lead Russel, where a couple of notable scenes lose integrity from what feels like ‘overacting’. I also found the sound mixing was off in parts – at least a couple of times the sound had to be adjusted to be able to hear dialogue.
With a favourable short run-time I was expecting more from the pacing of the film but was left scratching my head when it was a bit of a mess, what seems to stay at a fairly placid pace ramps through the roof and tries to elaborate its story in the last 10 minutes or so, leaving the viewer without enough time to buy into the plot whatsoever. In quite the twist it seems to temporarily leave its supernatural roots and lend itself to a gore based palette, bizarre.
Overall The Domicile does have a few pointers to offer but I could only recommend it to fans of slow-burning horrors, leaning more on the supernatural-thriller aspect.