REVIEW: Homebound (2021)

dir. Sebastian Godwin

There’s something intrinsically ominous about arriving at a house where you expect someone to be, and them not being there. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself that something just came up and they’ll be back any moment, there’s often a niggling feeling that they’re dead in a ditch or behind some locked door. It’s this dread premise that infuses much of the mood to Homebound, the debut feature from writer/director Sebastian Godwin.

A diminutive British horror that’s unsettling rather than spooky, the narrative centres around a father and his three children, his new wife, and a lot of weird family tension. Aisling Loftus (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) plays Holly, opposite Tom Goodman-Hill’s (Rebecca; The Imitation Game) Richard, and they successfully convey the couple’s uncomfortable power dynamic. Hollie Gotobed, Raffiella Chapman and Lukas Rolfe too do good work as the children throwing knowing looks and upping-the-awkward with their odd behaviour. 

Comparisons to The Innocents (1961) exist, and whilst there are some touchpoints – creepy kids whispering to each other in the clear sight of increasingly paranoid adults – this does not a Jack Clayton masterpiece make. However the ride is enjoyable as audiences join Holly in the horrible feeling of realising she’s way out of her depth.

In what would’ve worked well as a weekend TV two-parter, with its minimal cast and hulking country pile setting, Homebound is sure to play well with those who like atmospheric, slowly-ramping family dramas with an undercurrent of macabre mystery.

⭐⭐⭐

Becky Darke

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