Don’t Leave Home is a horror/thriller that was written & directed by Michael Tully, it released in 2018. Melanie Thomas is an artist who specializes in miniatures or dioramas. She’s about to unveil her new sculptural exhibit on Irish urban legends. However, she receives a negative review from a well-known critic during a preview event. Melanie is devastated until she is contacted by Father Alistair Burke. He’s a reclusive Irish priest who once painted the portrait of a young girl who later disappeared. Strangely, this happened on the very day her image vanished from the painting.
Without much thought, Melanie eagerly agrees to travel to the undisclosed location in rural Ireland. She never stops to consider that some urban legends might be true. When she arrives, she meets the eccentric housekeeper who shows her around the gothic manor. Before long, Melanie begins to have frightening dreams. Then, she meets the reclusive Father Burke who harbours a dark secret. Can Melanie solve the mystery? Check out, Don’t Leave Home to find out.
I really enjoyed the setup in this film, it certainly had me feeling immediately intrigued. However, it fails to capitalize on the small amount of momentum it had going for it. After a pivotal moment in the tale which changes everything, it slows down to almost a complete standstill. Don’t Leave Home is already a slow-burn up to that point but it takes it a step too far. In fact, it wanders deep into territory where the best word to describe it is boring.
Thankfully, the movie is not a total loss. Firstly, it’s beautifully shot. The cinematography delivers lots of nice imagery. Also, it has an atmospheric soundtrack. All of this combines to deliver something that has a hypnotic, almost dreamlike aesthetic that is wonderful.
Also, I really enjoyed Helena Bereen as the housekeeper. She is literally the only person having fun in this movie. When she is onscreen, she steals the show with how expressively she delivers every line. The rest of the cast range from good to wooden to downright comatose. There is an abundance of blank, expressionless staring that loses its charm quickly.
Ultimately, little to nothing is explained. You can interpret certain events in whichever way you see fit but who knows what the truth is. It’s completely up in the air. The motivations of certain characters is confusing. I mean, it isn’t unobvious what is taking place but it needed further explanation. Also, this film is listed under the horror banner on certain websites. At best, it’s a thriller but to call it thrilling would be a bit much. There is some tension but the horror elements are lacking.
Overall, Don’t leave home isn’t completely broken. However, I doubt I’ll remember it in a week or two. A shame, this one had potential.
Don't Leave Home