Homecoming (2009) – A Teenage Version of Stephen King’s Misery


By Melissa Garza


Ever since I watched the trailer for the Carrie (2013) remake, I’ve been on a bit of a Stephen King kick.  I broke out my DVDs and watched Maximum Overdrive (1986), Children of the Corn (1984) and Creepshow (1982).

So, when I heard Homecoming (2009) was basically a teenage version of Stephen King’s Misery (1990), I had mixed feelings, but needed to watch it.  I think Misery is both a good book and a decent movie; and I thought the concept of the captor being an obsessed teenager was interesting.

Now to be clear, the production isn’t a remake and King isn’t given any credit, but there are a lot of similarities between the two.   I would guess at the very least that writer Katie L Fetting was inspired by King’s work.

The movie opens with Shelby (Mischa Barton) who owns a bowling alley telling all of her co-workers and customers how excited she is that her boyfriend Matt (Mike Donaldson) is returning from college.   The high school intends to retire his football jersey so he is coming back to town to celebrate with his family and friends.

Matt’s cousin Billy (Michael Landes) tries to hint to Shelby that Matt has moved on, but Shelby is oblivious.  Even though she hasn’t spoken with Matt in months, she believes she simply gave him the space he needed for his studies, but that he is now returning home to her.

When Matt returns, he’s not alone.  His new girlfriend Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup) is with him.  Billy quickly warns Matt that Shelby thinks they are still together.  He decides to skip going to the bowling alley to avoid any type of unpleasantness but Elizabeth insists they go to get the ugliness out of the way.

Matt goes in the back to talk to Shelby who upon seeing him rushes over and starts making out with him.  He has to force her off and then reminds her that they broke up.  He tells her that he has moved on.  Thinking it’s better if he left, he goes to tell Elizabeth but Shelby catches up and is all smiles.

She offers Elizabeth a drink and the two starts chugging back tequila.  Shelby subtly hints to Elizabeth that she shouldn’t meet Matt’s mother after drinking so much.   She agrees as she wants to make a good impression.

That night as Matt goes home, Elizabeth goes to a motel which doesn’t have any vacancies.    Shelby is driving down the street and her focus is diverted.  Accidentally, she mows down Elizabeth.  Rather than call 911 or bring her to the hospital, she instead restrains and drugs her.  She holds her hostage believing with Elizabeth out of the picture she can resurrect her relationship with Matt.

Matt is led to believe that Elizabeth deserted her.  He considers dating Shelby but decides that he can’t cheat on Elizabeth despite the fact that she apparently split on him.

All in all, this movie is dreadful.  I wanted to enjoy it but it’s impossible to do so.

It isn’t the acting that makes it so bad.  The acting is actually quite good.  Mischa Barton does a fine job as Shelby.  She delivers the dialogue fine and is believable in the role.  The same is true for Landes and Stroup.

The issues that exist are due to the actual film.  The pace is non-existent.  The plot is a simple one so keeping the pace should be pretty basic, yet the movie falls flat in so many areas.  The twists are lame and predictable.

There is never any intensity in the film which is necessary for this type of movie.  In movies like Misery (1990) or Vacancy (2007) there are certain points that the viewers are made to cringe.  These are the moments when you want to close your eyes, when the hairs on your neck stands on end, and the desire for the movie to conclude just so the panicked emotion is over becomes a prominent feeling.  Homecoming lacks any of that.  I understand that the target audience is a younger one so the intensity may be intentionally lessened but even still, there should be something to it.  Instead, it was just boring, nonsensical and lame.

There is not one reason to recommend this film.  Usually, movies like this I’d say are good for a Sunday watch.  There are some teenybopper movies that emulate other productions but are interesting enough in their own right to be considered watchable.  The Roommate (2011) is a good example.  It certainly didn’t break any new ground.  It was most certainly inspired by Single White Female (1992), but still it was a fun watch.

Sadly, Homecoming has nothing going for it.

Scared Stiff Rating:  2/10



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