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Home Sick 
Written by: on August 12th, 2008

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2007
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: E.L. Katz
Cast: Lindley Evans, Bill Moseley, Tiffany Shepis, Forrest Pitts, Will Akers, Matt Lero, Brandon Carroll, Tom Towles, Jeff Dylan Graham, L.C. Holt

DVD released: August 26th, 2008
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

Synopsis: A group of friends throwing a party for an old friend have their party interrupted by an eccentric traveling salesman with a briefcase full of razorblades. This mysterious man with a briefcase full of razor blades forces the friends to reveal the person they hate most while he carves up his arms with razors. When bodies of those who were named during the party start to piling up causing everyone who attended the party to fear for their lives.

In recent years there has been an over-saturation of horror films that are nothing more than rehashes and remakes of proven horror films. Even the horror films that bring something new to the table often have come up short either because of poor scripts, wooden performances and inept direction that is like watching paint dry on the wall. Luckily Home Sick doesn’t fall into the traps that so many of its contemporaries have fallen prey to. Home Sick has a strong premise with enjoyable characters like Mr. Suitcase (Bill Moseley) and Uncle Johnny (Tom Towles). Visually Adam Wingard’s direction is very strong especially the way he captures the film bloodier brutal moments. The pacing is pitch perfect with no moment feeling too long or like it could be cut.

Most of the performances in Home Sick are merely adequate. The two most inspired performances come from Bill Moseley and Tom Towles. Another performance of note is Tiffany Shepis in the role of Candice. Her character also gets the most memorable scene in the film which involves her rubbing her recently murdered mothers’ blood all over her body. When there is violence it is often pushed to limit and bloody. One thing I wish that was further explored in the film is more background into the Mr. Suitcase character. He just kind of appears out of nowhere. Ultimately Home Sick is one of the more bizarre and unique horror films that I have seen in many years.

The DVD:

Home Sick is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has also been flagged for progressive playback. One minor complaint about this release is the lack of an anamorphic presentation instead of the letterboxed widescreen presentation. Outside of some mild edge enhancement this transfer is another first rate effort from Synapse Films.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. There are no audio defects. The sound clear and evenly balanced. Overall the audio is very satisfying.

Extras for this release include a five minute interview with Bill Moseley, an alternate opening sequence (8 minutes) and a thirteen minute segment titled “In a Room Where Darkness Counts” which is essentially director Adam Wingard re-enacting his first meeting with Bill Moseley and two other events surrounding the making of Home Sick. During this segment Adam Wingard plays all the roles involved while re-enacting what happened. Other extras include three short films “1,000 Year Sleep” (7 minutes), “Laura Panic” (3 minutes) and “The Girlfriend” (32 minutes). All three of these horror themes short films were directed by Adam Wingard. The stories for “1,000 Year Sleep” and “Laura Panic” are the most accessible and enjoyable of the three shorts. “The Girlfriend” lacks the humor present in the other two shorts. Also the plot for “The Girlfriend” is not as straight forward as the other two shorts. The main extra included with this release is a excellent audio commentary with director Adam Wingard and writer/producer E.L. Katz. The audio commentary is lively and entertaining. Both participants go into great detail about the production. Overall Synapse Films gives Home Sick a strong DVD release which boasts a wealth of extras including the exceptional audio commentary with Adam Wingard and E.L. Katz.

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