One of the strongest films of Fantasia, a film that works for exactly what it is, is the Canadian thriller HOMEWRECKER directed by Zach Gayne. Co-Written with its two co-stars, Homewrecker is another simple story that draws in the audience and tortures them in much the same way its lead actress tortures her victim. And no, this is not the typical torture that you can imagine when we’re discussing horror films, this is the torture of an awkward friendship where one half is trying to desperately to pull the other half into her world. A casual encounter in yoga class becomes a chance meeting at a coffee shop leading to a drive to a house to discuss a potential interior design job. Throughout the experience Michelle (Alex Esso) does her best to maneuver along the thin line of getting out of there without offending this woman that she clearly has nothing in common with but who has decided to make her her new best friend. When it becomes clear that Linda (Precious Chong) is not playing with a full deck, Homewrecker takes on a MISERY-like quality in which we are trapped much like James Caan strapped to a bed.
However, Gayne’s film is really an examination of generational change. Linda comes from Generation X who seem to have been promised the world only to find disappointment at every turn. Now older and settled in to a lifetime a failure, she’s taking her last chance to grab something for herself, no matter who she hurts, or maybe intentionally hoping to hurt. That’s actually who we are in Generation X. We are fucking pissed off that the world we were promised it’s not ours to enjoy. Contrast that with the conflict-averse millennial Michelle who wants nothing more than to get out of the situation with the least amount of impact. Her inability to stand up and ask for what she wants puts her in a circumstance that she soon finds she cannot escape. She is powerless to the forces around her because she has never actually utilized the power that the world seems to present her at every turn. Yes she’s young and beautiful and seems to have everything and yet she still find things to complain about, even to complete strangers.
Does she deserve what Linda does to her? No, of course not, but I get it. Homewrecker is a great struggle between two opposing viewpoints that plays out in a violent and bloody manner. It’s not a film for everyone, mostly because Linda is so irritating that the audience feels trapped in much the same way Michelle is, the realism of the performance making for a truly uncomfortable watching experience. How can somebody complain about capturing that sort of true torture on screen? No Homewrecker is the little gem of Fantasia that on its face seems like a simple genre piece but actually makes a very provocative statement worth suffering through the torture for.