Home Movie

Home Movie

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Creepy kids + found footage = a creepy, nihilistic film that is filled with dread from beginning to end. What exactly is up with these kids? And how far are they gonna take it?

Our last film before October begins is cobbled together from home movies shot during the holidays, starting out, appropriately enough, with Halloween. Home Movie is difficult to find nowadays, but fans of the found footage genre should give it a watch.

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Home Movie (2008)

Episode 270, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: And I’m Craig.

Todd: Today, we venture back into found footage, horror, which we dip into quite a bit, cause there’s quite a bit out there, especially back in the early two thousands. And the film that we’re doing today is from 2008 and it was a request by Alec. Probably a very, I think it’s a very long standing request.

I don’t put dates on the requests that we get, but, um, we put them on our list in order of reception. And this one was pretty high, pretty early on the list. Yeah. So Alec, if you were still listening to us after all these years, congratulations, we finally got around to 2008’s Home Movie. And thank you for directing us to it because I wouldn’t have really found this movie otherwise.

Well, I’m sorry I say that. And I think I’ve seen it on a list or two for creepy kids films. And so that was what I think more recently made me go back and kind of look at our list and go, Hmm, creepy kid movie. We haven’t done that in a while. Oh, here is home movie and the little write-up in the list that I saw made it sound like it was pretty darn cool.

And then, uh, you independently of me also said, Hey, I’m really kind of interested in doing this movie as well. And so we thought we would do that this week. Yep. IFC picked it up. It did a, for a film festival circuit IFC picked it up as a sort of. Pay like a streaming type service on there, IFC films thing.

And then of course I went to DVD and I do not believe it’s easily available. Even out there on streaming services. You weren’t really able to find it many places where you Craig, 

Craig: where you and I go to. I don’t know. There’s, there’s some website that I go to that you can just type in the title and it will tell you everywhere that it’s streaming for free, everywhere that you can pay for it.

And, uh, I couldn’t find this streaming anywhere. 

Todd: Crazy. Right. You just imagined pretty much everything’s available, but kids it’s not the case. Um, how about you had you even heard of this before, Craig? What, what kind of clued you into to doing this one this week? 

Craig: Well, just because it had been so high on the list for so long, but also because I had seen it and I must have seen it.

Gosh, I don’t know. I have no idea when a long time ago, probably on DVD. Um, maybe, but it had been so long. That I remembered the basic premise and I remembered it being disturbing and that’s kind of all I remembered. So I genuinely was interested in watching it again. I’ll be really interested, interested to hear what you thought of it because Hmm.

Hmm, it’s a head-scratcher.

Todd: I did also come away with it with mixed feelings and not because it was found footage, you know, I think I’m far beyond my original, uh, I would say just short of disdain for found footage, movies, since being disappointed by the Blair witch project. So many years ago, since we’ve done so many found footage movies on this podcast.

Pretty much at Craig’s request. I have warmed up to the genre cause we’ve seen some good ones. 

Craig: We have, we’ve seen some stinkers too. We have seen some good ones. It’s true. 

Todd: I mean, sometimes found footage is just a way to shoot a movie cheaply, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the idea lends itself well to that.

And we’ve seen a couple movies like that. This is Christopher denim. Christopher denim is a, is an actor and also writer and, and a bit of a producer, but he’s been in a lot of big movies, our go shutter island over a lot of television, and this is his writing and directing day. And he, since directed at least one other horror movie or thriller, whatever you might call it called preservation.

And it looks like he’s filming one right now called old flame for a first film. It’s an interesting choice. It also starts some fairly, I mean, when you say fake. You know, it’s like people that you see and you kind of recognize, and then you get to their IMDV profile and you’re like, oh yeah, God, they’ve been in a thousand things.

And I guess I have seen them in one way or another. Uh, Adrian passed, Dar is a guy named David Paul. Uh, who’s the father, uh, in this family. And, uh, he has a lot of credits from a lot of big things. Uh, agents of shield, Supergirl, a lot of Avengers stuff. He’s done a lot of voice acting for cartoons. So I mean, that’s, that’s pretty impressive.

And then, uh, I think the, the person playing the mother, her name is Katie McClain. Again, not a household name by any means, but also has been on. And I’ve been waiting for you to point this out is currently 

Craig: on 

Todd: what is she currently on that you could possibly know more than me about days of our lives. 

Craig: I’m telling you so many.

I mean, it makes sense that, um, these, these actors that pop up in horror movies work their way through soap operas because in a lot of way, horror and soap operas are. It’s very similar there, they cast beautiful people and put them in melodramatic situations. Um, so I’m not surprised she’s done lots of soap work.

Todd: was surprised like every one of them. Yeah. She’s 

Craig: been in times and she’s been on days of our lives for the past couple of years. I was surprised I don’t watch the show anymore. I haven’t watched it for years. I, and. Even just, my mom’s still watch this. She tells me about it sometimes, but, um, even just flipping through, like, if it’s on, like I’ll flip to it for a second, I don’t even recognize anybody on it anymore because even though, um, the, the cast of characters remains pretty consistent.

Like they introduce new characters fairly regularly, but there are lots of characters that have been on the show for decades. She, um, is playing a role. That back in the day. I really liked that character, but it was played by, um, a different actress. So anyway, she, she was kind of the, the good girl of Salem.

I have no idea who she is anymore, but she was the sweet, good girl and Adrian pastor. I remember him most from heroes, the TV. Which was like, which was its first season. It kind of blew everybody away. And then it was one of those sad things where just from the second season on just continuously went downhill.

Um, he was also, uh, married to Natalie. Mains I think is her name, um, lead singer of the Dixie chicks. He was married to her for a while, but I think he was naughty and got caught and they, uh, they’re not, they’re not married anymore, but he’s super charming in this oh God movie, almost to the point where. It starts to become well, it starts to become a little bit unbelievable until the last part of the movie where things start to fall apart.

Todd: Let me point out, by the way, he was a chipper and top gun. He was in near dark movies that we’ve seen. I’m not sure what his character was in near dark. I mean, his name was Caleb Colton, but I don’t remember enough about them to be able to point him out. Carlito’s way. He’s a, he’s a very seasoned actors.

No question that he’s good and believable. And I do think that all of the acting in this film was quite believable and quite good. No problem there, but I get what you’re saying about how he’s just so charming and so nice that after a while it’s like, oh, come on. Really. However, in the defense, what I really enjoyed about this found footage movie, and it’s called home movie because it’s an assemblage of the home.

Of this family of four people, and there’s only one other character besides the dog. So it’s a very, very small cast. The kids barely talk. The dad and the mom do all the talking pretty much through the whole movie. There’s a dog and there’s one other minor character who comes in towards the end. W what I liked about it was that we take it for granted now that we have phones in our pockets and we videotape all the time, everywhere we go, this movie seems to come from an era when it was a novelty to have.

A video camera in your house it’s it was a separate device that you purchased, you know? And what did you do? You just, you didn’t run around videotape. Most of us didn’t run around, videotaping everything. It was something you broke out for holidays, special events, something the kids do at school or whatever.

And that’s. And so what really endeared me to this movie from the beginning is the first scene, except, well, I mean, there’s like a quick shot of like some rotting dog decomposing corpse or something, but the next scene is the dad flipping through the settings on the camcorder, trying to select the correct title to display the correct holiday.

This is what we get with the movie is that it’s not like they’re just videotaping everything. In their life, they’re pulling out the camcorder for the holidays. And so most of the movie with a few exceptions is the footage that we see is taking place on a particular holiday Christmas Valentine’s day.

And that was very real to me. Like I enjoyed that bit. And what you just said about the dad being really chipper and quite charming. Another thing that endeared this movie to me was that this was played exactly like. We were. All right, so you break out the video camera during the holidays, and of course it’s the holidays everybody’s kind of on their best behavior.

And then everybody’s kind of mugging for the camera and kind of performing for the camera because we don’t have cameras shoved in our faces all the time. And so the camera is treated as a novelty in the scenes of this film and people seem to be the dad and the mom. Anyway, they’re so aware of the. That they’re acting for and performing for it and kind of staging the scenes based around the camera.

And so I give them a pass for that. I feel like, yeah, this is like how I was when we would flip a camera on in the eighties and break it out. We we’d be a little nice and goofy and silly and fun, and we’d only show the good part. Right of our lives. And so it’s interesting how the movie’s framing device allows for this.

It’s like, you’re only seeing the dad and the mom and the, I say the dad and the mom, cause it’s really the way it is. Cause the kids are weird from the beginning, but it’s, it’s really the dad and the mom who are just. Break the camera for the holidays here. We’re recording this for posterity and see how much fun we’re having.

And Hey kids let’s do this and let’s do that. And Hey, you know, do something silly for the camera, kind of shtick over and over and over and over again, you know, until things start to. Weird. Yeah. And so I liked that actually. I thought it was kind of, kind of real, right. 

Craig: Yeah. And I agree with you, you know, the whole aspect of the holiday, of course, especially, you know, parents, you want to try to make it fun and, and like you said, focus on the positive.

The other thing is I really get the impression that especially the dad, both of them, but especially the dad are really, really trying. Like, they’re just trying really hard to be a nice, happy family. That’s one of the things that I like about this movie, first of all, I think that it’s really well-written.

And when I say that, I’m not just talking about the dialogue, the dialogue does feel very natural at most parts. There are some parts where it feels a little bit forced and it seems a little bit strange that they’re using the camera in such intimate moments. 

Todd: There are times. Yes, 

Craig: but the dialogue is fine and believable.

But when I say written, I just mean that there are so many little things going on in this movie. And. I assume you noticed them too, because I don’t think that this is just a second viewing kind of thing, because I saw it so long ago and remembered so little, but there’s this consistent imagery that pops up throughout and it connects and ties into the story.

And there’s a lot of dragon imagery. 

Todd: I was just going to ask, you’re talking about the dragon, right? Yeah. The 

Craig: kids were these like, oh gosh, I don’t even know. It’s Japanese. Yeah. 

Todd: Yeah. It’s 

Craig: Japanese dragon masks that they wear. Uh, sometimes they also have this stuffed dragon. That’s kind of like serpentine it’s long.

It’s cute. It’s a toy, but it’s just always kind of there. It’s weird. Like why is it always around? Like sometimes like the kid might be there, like there’ll be sitting in bed, reading a story and it makes sense that there’s. A stuffed animal there with them in bed. That’s fine. But then, you know, sometimes the dad will just, you know, hear a noise in the closet or something and they’ll open it up and that dragon will just be hanging over the, the hanging rack or they’re playing hide and seek.

And they look for the kids in the basement and the kids aren’t in the spot, but the dragon is, and, and the dad also early in the movie, They have story time where the dad tells this story and he does a lot of mugging, but it’s for his kid. So it makes sense. And he does a lot of voices. And so he reads this story in a funny voice and the stories about this dragon who puts on a paper mask to trick all these little kids into.

That he’s one of them. Um, and he has to go through all these things to prove like he can sing like them and dance like them. And, you know, he does all of these things. And so finally they accept him and then they’re like, okay, it’s time for lunch. And we, that the dragon took off his paper bag mask revealing the two hideous heat.

The children started to scream, but their screams were soon. Inside the dragon stomach

that was perhaps the most vastly inappropriate fairy tale I’ve ever heard. It’s an allegory for, you know, don’t trust. It all ties into what’s going on in their family. And what’s going on in their family is that their kids are fricking weird. And from the beginning, there is no evolution of this from the time that we meet them, they are selling, they are weird.

They’re not talking. They rarely make eye contact. They don’t talk, they never smile. And they just do really weird stuff. And that’s the. Bothered me most about the movie is. 10 minutes into the movie. I’m like, you guys come on, I get that. They’re your kids. And you want to maybe look past the fact that they’re weird and you hope that by trying to engage them and encourage them to do fun things and stuff, and like teach them things and, and really go out of your way to try to bond with them.

Especially the dad. They’re just weird. And there’s clearly something wrong with them. You have to wait. Come 

Todd: on mom. You’re yeah, you’re a child psychologist or psych you of all people you should know. But I do feel like maybe the movie in a very more, maybe more subtle way than it should have, uh, gives a reason for.

Because the family has just moved to the middle of the woods or whatever. And what’s also kind of nice about this. As information is parceled out over time in what I thought were fairly natural ways, usually dialogue between the mom and the dad. That’s a little more candid when they’re talking about their problems and their past in the beginning, you know, of course you don’t know what their problems are, if they’re even our problems.

And then sometimes it felt a little forced, like maybe some of this should have been parceled out a little earlier on, but. Generally speaking, it seems like they moved, he moved the family out to the woods and it was more or less his idea. And it was because they were experiencing some problems and that was supposed to help solve them.

But we don’t really know what those issues were. But it has to be something with the kids because they’re kind of talking about the kids in that regard. Yeah. Well, a 

Craig: little, little things are suggested. I do like that. Like it doesn’t just slap you in the face. Like there’s not big moments of exposition and revelation.

It’s just subtle things like, yes, you think that they moved in the hope that things would get better. And so it seems like they’ve already had some struggles with the kids, but I think that it’s also suggested that the dad has struggled. Alcoholism. And that’s something that he’s been attempting to work on and he is working on it.

Um, but as the movie goes on, he starts drinking a little more like nothing that I would be concerned about necessarily like he drinks a lot on new year’s Eve. Well, Who doesn’t right. But if he had struggled with addiction and alcoholism in the past, I can understand why that might be a little bit worrisome for his wife.

There’s also, it’s just very cat. Well, not casually, I guess, but we find out in a very natural way that the dad was abused. Child by his own father. And so the mother says it is incredibly common, uh, for abuse to happen, generationally people who have been abused have a, more of a tendency to abuse. And so there’s, there’s just these and they’re real family issues, but the kids are so weird.

Todd: You’re right. The kids are weird from the get-go and uh, I mean, there are some things, right. There’s a, it starts at a Halloween time. And so mom and dad like, Hey, happy Halloween. And they seem like the coolest parents ever, almost like they’re trying too hard, but you know, they’ve got like a, one of them has a birthday apparently on Halloween.

Craig: Oh, that’s right. Both of them. And I think that that’s relevant that they were born on Halloween. Like there’s suspicious little things. Anyway, go ahead. 

Todd: No, you’re right. No, I, I don’t mean to gloss over that. You’re right. So they’re both born on Halloween. There’s this Halloween party and the parents are like, Hey, happy birthday slash Halloween.

And she’s dressed up as the bride of Frankenstein. And he comes in and the kids are sitting at the table just like staring into space, like completely. Not interacting completely doing nothing. They seem very nonplussed about this whole situation. They almost have pissed off as though something happened before the camera started rolling, you know, but then you realize this is just how those kids are all the time.

And it did kind of make me think like there. It may be aware that there are spaces between with what we’re seeing, right? Yeah. I mean, this camera, what we’re seeing is like, basically between the holidays in between certain events that happened in their family, but I’m thinking like, so like the kids must talk like at some point or else the parents wouldn’t keep going on.

Like this month after month, pretending that everything’s okay. Or are the parents just in this extreme, weird denial situation as well? They feel. It’s still the fall. It must have been around the Halloween time. They filmed dad playing catch with a, with the kid and the kid’s name is yeah. Jack that’s right.

And he’s dads, you know, Hey, toss me the ball. And Jack kind of throws the ball at him. And then, uh, Jack doesn’t catch the ball. And then he has he tosses a ball up in the air and whacks it with his baseball bat and it flies into the. And so the mom has to go in and get the ball from the woods, which is kind of another thing.

They, she runs into this clubhouse where Emily standing there creepily behind this little fence that the kids have erected with a sign that says, you know, Jack and Emily’s clubhouse. Nobody else is allowed. No, no parents allowed in. And I thought, yeah, that would last two seconds in my family, that somebody is going to go in there and at least check it out at some point.

So that was a little weird and it’s creepy. Right. But then, um, we see a little bit more of this toss back and forth and Jack picks up a rock and Chuck. At the dad. And he’s like, did you just throw a rock at me and goes after him? And of course the camera shuts off. And then, uh, the next day, I guess, or later that day or whatever, you know, dad’s got the camera back on and he’s saying, well, two days 

Craig: we’re going to learn about ancient arch of a raking raking.

It was a first discovered by a Chinese, a mountain task force in 1802. My lovely assistant Jack Poe is raking today because he’s being punished for throwing a rock at his dad’s hip, but you got Jay it dead bug. This is where he employed the notorious garbage bag technique. And there you have a kids.

That’s our lesson for today. Dead things go and trappings, which 10 becomes highly significant later on. 

Todd: Oh, my God. Yeah. And I’m thinking, yeah, but in between here, surely Jack said something, you know, like surely when dad sat him down to talk to him about this, this rock throwing that there was an actual.

Interaction of some kind and he just didn’t stare at him into space. And, and that, that, from that point, even continuing on, I thought, is it just when the camera is on that the kids are clamming up? Otherwise it seems like the parents would have been, they would have come to a conclusion a lot sooner that something’s really messed up with their.

Don’t you think 

Craig: you, I don’t know, one would think, but I, you don’t get the impression that they’re only weird on camera. I get the impression that they’re weird all the time and they do rarely speak at 

Todd: all. Oh, I don’t think Emily says a single word. Toward the very end of the movie. Well, there’s one point, that’s the only 

Craig: one whose there’s one, there’s one point where they’re in the car and they’re talking to each other, but in jibberish and the mom doesn’t like it.

And she’s like, I don’t like when they do this, it’s like they have their own language, which I understand is a twin thing. Not all twins, but it happens so whatever, but I could also understand if your kids never talked to them, the only time they did speak around you, they were doing it in code. That that would be unsettling.

I, there, I mean, there’s so there again, it’s just a special occasions there. The parents 10th wedding anniversary, and there’s a whole goofy conversation between the dad and the wife while she’s in the shower. Again, this is another one of those moments where I don’t think that it’s necessarily unlikely, but it seemed, I don’t know, the dad’s kind of obsessed with the video camera and that’s not unrealistic either, because like you said, people today just take for granted that we can whip out our video cameras at any time.

But these were having access to that. When we were kids, my dad was super excited about it. And one of the videotape. At first I at first. Yeah. And I remember, um, you know, of course even when we were like teenagers, dads had those nice little handheld camcorders, those little tiny cassette tapes in them.

That’s great. But I remember when I was a little kid, my dad followed my family around Disney. With a huge ass VCR slung around his shoulder and a camera, the size of like a studio news camera. 

Todd: That’s right. The VHS tape was in the VCR, strapped to his shoulder with a big cable leading to the camera itself.

I remember those. 

Craig: Um, so I understand the dad’s enthusiasm wanting to tape everything it’s new, whatever, that’s fine, but they, they, they hear the dog crying outside the kid’s room and they find the kids sleeping together and they kind of have a very brief conversation about how, you know, they’re may be getting a little bit old for that.

And w as they’re talking like the camera pans away from the kids, and then as soon as it pans back, they’re just ominously standing there. And this happens several times. Like they just will appear out 

Todd: of nowhere, like an improbable way. Right? Like it’s, it’s like supernatural 

Craig: feeling. Yeah. And, and not impossible necessarily, but improbable.

Absolutely. And I think Emily. I stood there and Peter herself, I don’t know. They turned the camera off very quickly. Then we get the bedtime story. We come to Claire. She does a work video where she talks about treating her children, patients with meds. This camera actually, they, they acquired. For her work they’re using it personally also.

Todd: Well, I thought this was kind of interesting and it just framed up the movie for some interesting interpretation in that she is a psychologist. So she is a doctor, child psychologist. It just so happened. And so her approach, when things start to get weird with the kids is to look at it very analytically.

And she’s talking about, you know, like you said, her husband’s past and his abuse and all that. He, we learn during their anniversary scene or whatever is, uh, aspiring to be, or is a Lutheran. His approach to this is, is, you know, it’s the whole science versus faith thing, right. Where he’s on intuition. And something’s weird.

We just moved out to the woods. Something’s bizarre. Um, once he goes up and during one scene, he asks one of the kids, actually it happens a couple times. Do you think there’s something weird about this house? Something bad here? Yeah. And so he’s taking a very sort of, faith-based like. Demons and angels approach to the situation as things get progressively worse while the mother eventually the, the kids become her patients more or less.

And she’s talking about just prescribing meds to them and stuff like that. I thought that was an interesting dichotomy. I mean, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here by saying this, but this has never really resolved. What is wrong with the kids? What is driving them to do what they’re doing? Is there some evil entity?

Are they just completely psychopathic? We never know anything for certain. And I think that’s why. I don’t know, it’s kind of, it’s kind of real life. And also it’s pretty true. I think to the genre where this is just found footage, like how could, how probable is it that all the footage that we assemble from someone’s random home movies at random times is going to answer all of our questions.

So neatly. So I was actually kind of cool with that. And then it just, this is the kind of movie that leads you in the aftermath to kind of really wonder what’s going on here. What did I just see? What is the explanation for it? And multiple explanations are presented to you, but you never get a neat tidy answer on any of that.

And I liked that about the film as well. That was a, I don’t know, some people might call it a cop out, but I think it was well constructed enough. It was deliberately constructed that. And so I actually liked that aspect of the film. Yeah. 

Craig: I think that it was meant to be intentionally ambiguous. And I liked that too.

However, there are just too many things. I mean, it’s possible that these kids are just psychopaths, but there are so many things like the fact that they were born on Halloween and eventually a closet in the club, they were born in the closet. I don’t remember 

Todd: that. No, I’m bringing up. Um, no, what I mean is the whole thing about the guy in the 

Craig: closet.

Yeah. They, but I mean, that’s, they, they say what there’s well, they just say there’s a guy in the closet there hurts them. Yeah. 

Todd: There’s this there’s, it’s probably the fir the first shocking scene that we see. And this is when. Well, the first thing, but it’s when things start to really get real, right? Well, 

Craig: there’s Thanksgiving.


Todd: kids dressed up like pilgrims 

Craig: and they’re impressed that the son has made his own lunch. Will they ask him to show what he made? And he opens up this hamburger bun and it’s got the two pet goldfish in it. And like I have, in my notes, these kids are so fucking weird. And the parents just seem like not to notice, like that’s just not a big deal.

Todd: What we just deal with that. Move on. That’s so stupid. 

Craig: Well, and then at that night, Thanksgiving dinner, when the dad tries to say, grace, the kids keep dropping things on the floor, as soon as he starts to say it. And not only do they start dropping things up on the floor, but they both reach for the same things and drop them in unison.

Todd: Like they planned it, 

Craig: like they planned it or like they’re psychically connected one way or the other, because it’s so insane. Something bothers or offends them or they object. To prayer, uh, which is, and then again, this all happens over holidays. Then we get Christmas and they’re weird at Christmas. Um, they don’t get excited about anything.

And then the dad, I think goes upstairs to fetch something and he finds their family cat crucified on a cross. That is messed up. And at this point I was so mad. I was like, listen, get rid of that dog right now.

Todd: Good boy. You’re like dog. Right away. This is so Ukraine save the pets. My God, there’s something wrong. Get those pets out of there. 

Craig: Okay. Like killing the fish. That’s gross and weird, but crucifying the cat that is psychotic and seriously, then there’s that dog around. And I just knew, and I was telling Alan about it last night and I’m like, and, um, they don’t get rid of the dog and.

Todd: it’s pretty typical for a horror movie. Well, I mean, but you know, my mom, she used to work at a psychiatric facility for preadolescence and she was the head of the pre ad ward. She was there for God 10 or 12 years, and we were constantly reminded usually at the dinner table. Of these warning signs w how you know that kids are troubled, that there’s something wrong with them.

And one of the very first and usually earliest telltale signs is cruelty to animals. Whether they pull wings off of flies, or whether they don’t like to smash bugs or, or hurt cats or something like that, that is usually kind of textbook one-on-one. Early warning sign that there’s something wrong with the kid, even if you see nothing else.

So you would think that this mother who was a child psychologist, like you just said would earlier on be more disturbed at what’s been going down because this is like the third or fourth time that the kids have shown immense cruelty to animals slash the pets in their, in their own 

Craig: home. Yeah, it is a little Emily crushes, a frog and a.

At some point. And then there were a little things that like, I suppose if you were living this life, you. Necessarily think these things were weird, but as an audience member, I’m like, come on. Like when the dad under like the filmmaking does it under the guise of he’s like a scout leader for his son. So he’s teaching him like scout things, but he teaches them how to pick locks.

And how to tie knots that can’t be untied. You were just asking for trouble. 

Todd: Your kids are weird enough as it is. Don’t teach them how 

Craig: to maybe teach them how to make fire with a stick or something. I, gosh, I mean, I understand. Sure. Okay. Those are practical skills, but your kids are also psychotic. So maybe not.

Todd: You just put a frog in a vice let’s not teach you how to, you know, load in and shoot a firearm. You know, that kind of 

Craig: thing. Um, the mom eventually starts to realize that something’s going wrong and this is around Christmas time. I also have it in my notes. There were an inordinate amount of fart jokes in this movie.

Isn’t that 

Todd: weird, right? Why. Why were they so obsessed with

unpack that one. Yeah. 

Craig: Um, new year’s Eve, um, mom is nervous about leaving the kids home alone. There’s clearly tension building between the parents and they kind of get into an argument. I don’t think that they well. I don’t know if they end up going out or not. She goes out, I mean, he’s already drunk and she’s mad about that.

So she goes out and smokes a cigarette. I, uh, want, uh, I want this family to be the family that I thought it would be. And I thought about having a family in the first place, because this isn’t.

I feel like I don’t know these people. I’m not really sure why she’s still carrying the camera around, but the camera pans, and we see dad like seemingly passed out in bed with them, which isn’t weird, but what is weird is that they are covered in severe bite marks. Um, human. Bite marks and the kids say the man in the closet bit them, but the wife is convinced that it was the dad and she decides to leave him and.

In the following days. Valentine’s day. Yeah. Valentine’s day. They have a big blow up fight and she says that she’s leaving, but then things change and this is not predictable, but it’s the logical progression. Um, you know, these, these kids have been killing and torturing animals. What happens next is the logical progression, 

Todd: right?

It’s an interesting scene. Actually. I think that dad goes upstairs. Um, Emily is in the attic and I got the impression. That they moved them up there. They 

Craig: separated them. Yeah. And put her up there by herself because of what happened at school. Don’t 

Todd: you remember? Right. Oh yeah. At school. Yeah. What happened at school was that they cornered a kid into the bathroom and they bit him severely just bit him all over.

And so of course the mom now realizes, well, the kids did it to themselves. And not, you know, clearly the father did not. And so they separated the kids and dad goes upstairs and confronts Emily and it’s, it’s, you know, the way everything is shot with the kids. Like you said, they’re just creepy as hell. And you’re just on the edge of your seat, just waiting for all hell to break loose.

I sorta feel like, you know, because she’s facing this open window, the window shade kind of flies up by itself. 

Craig: The window shade is down or something, and then it immediately flies up. Let me explain that. 

Todd: Yeah. Without her making a move, right. I know. Yeah, no, the more we talk about it, the more I’m kind of like the argument for this, just being supernatural is pretty, pretty strong.

The dad goes and sits down next to her. Now we can see him and this is how it is through the whole movie. Dad and mom are kind of the star, the stars of the show. Um, and the kids are there, but they’re creepy and quiet and sometimes half hidden. And sometimes, you know, and, and, and she’s facing towards the window and he’s talking to her and this is where he goes.

Look, um, Emily, why did you do that? Is there something about this house? And then. Turns her head for the first time where she just been staring off into space this whole time and not. 

Craig: Yeah. See, and I think that there’s something important about the wording, because he says, is there something bad in this house?

And I think that. Relevant like us, she could be referring to them. 

Todd: Hmm, no, but then she says the closet, right? I don’t remember. I can’t remember if she says the closet because she hardly ever speaks. Or if he says something about the closet, because they had earlier blamed the man in the closet 

Craig: she asked 

Todd: about, or he asks about it.

I think either way the closet is brought up and she affirms or says like, It’s the closet. Cause he said he talks about angels and demons, you know? Um, are there bad things in this house? She nods, blah, blah, blah. Mom comes upstairs, takes the camera away. Gives a Rorschach. Rorschach. How do you say were shots Rorschach Worshack test to the boy, which we don’t even really get 

Craig: because it’s fast forwarded through.

That’s the other thing you have to wonder who is controlling this, like who is controlling, what we’re seeing, because there are moments when it gets fast forwarded moments, when it gets rewinding and things are repeated. It’s really interesting. And I think that that question is answered at the end, but yeah, you can see that he’s talking to her and telling her things, but we don’t get to hear what he said.

And went straight and when they’re done it, it starts playing at normal speed again. And she seems a little perturbed.

Todd: She does. Now. I’m glad you brought this up because. I had a huge question about this rewinding and fast-forwarding because this happens what maybe half a dozen times, maybe five times in the movie where there’s a bit that plays and it seems kind of insignificant. And then the camera, again, rewinds to this other spot and replay is a line or two from somebody there.

And I’ll be damned if I could figure out. I mean, I’m like, there’s a reason for this. There must be something significant why we’re supposed to pay close attention to this specific bit or the specific line that was said this one time, but I’ll 

Craig: be darned. Yeah. I’m not sure I know either. Right. Cause I don’t even remember.

I like some of the lines, they don’t seem particularly significant. Why would either the person watching want to see them over and over again? Like, are they taking some sort of pleasure in seeing them over and over again? Or do they. Us to see them over and over again. I’m not, 


Todd: what I was sure.

Thinking. I was thinking it was, I mean, I, natural was thinking it’s because of us. And, but then I was looking visually too, you know, I’m thinking, is there something I missed visually in the picture that I’m supposed to catch? The second time around, I was looking in the background. I was looking at all the people in there, you know, trying to figure out what it was.

I never could. And then I was like, are they. Screwing with us, you know, are the filmmakers just trying to amp up the creepiness factor by randomly sort of throwing in these bits that are just making us more curious and, and, or aware of the fact that we’re watching something that was put together by someone for us, 

Craig: right.

Right. And it’s effective. Um, this is the point where it really does become the parents trying to handle things in their own specialty. The mom decides that she’s going to put the kids on medications and she puts them on like, anti-psychotics. I think one of the ones that she mentioned is Halla doll, and I know that that is heavy stuff and she even.

Um, yeah, you’ve been on it for years. No,

Todd: I prefer, 

Craig: I prefer my crazy the way it is, but, uh, and, and she, she tells them that they’re gonna be on these medications, but she also makes a point of saying you must never, ever take more than one pill at a time. Um, because it will put you into a waking coma. Well, good. They know that now. Right? 

Todd: Put that right up.

You know, teaching them lockpicking 

Craig: um, meanwhile, the dad starts performing an exorcism and it seems like he’s trying to exercise the house because he’s in the kids’ room. Um, and it’s dark and he starts performing the exorcism and that damn dragon. Is around. Um, but then in the middle of the exorcism, the children just appear out of nowhere.

Again, like it’s a camp, like the camera pans away from their bed for a split second, and then it pans back and they’re there. 

Todd: This is why I bring up the closet because the dad looks in the closet. He shakes his holy water in the closet. This is my house. These are my 

Craig: children. 

Todd: Children alone at my house and he closes the closet and he, you, he turns this latch thing on the closet.

And when he pans the camera over towards their bed, When the kids are not there, suddenly he hears a noise and this all happens within like two seconds. He pants the camera back over and the closet is wide open. So that’s why, like I said earlier, I think the closet, I mean, if you’re going to try to find.

Uh, source for it or whatever. They’re talking about. The clause that the Dragon’s hanging in the closet, he just closed the door, pans, the camera back over it’s inexplicably opened again. And that’s where the noise came from. And then as you said, the camera pans back over and the kids are both just suddenly sitting there on the bed.

But anyway, 

Craig: once they’re in there, the dad. Holds them down and, and ties them to the bed. And the mom’s like beating on the door and he’s continuing with the exorcism. Now here is where I feel like, how can you deny? Because it felt supernatural to me. And then when he’s done, he stands up and he tells the mom it’s it’s over, you know, every, every it’s fine now, but 

Todd: let me just, before we move on from this, let me just say what a heartbreaking scene.

What was going through my head is these are two parents at their end of their rope. And they’re doing this extreme thing and the kids are obviously distressed this. I mean, if you were just to walk in on what’s going on, you know, the father has tied his kids to the bed. He’s on top of them. He’s holding them down, they’re screaming.

Uh, and you know, he’s seems like the crazy, this guy who also has a history of was abused as a child. And so, you know, the mother has already expressed concerns about this. Walks into the room. What’s her first thought, you know, she mitts later on in the movie that she doesn’t believe in God at all. So look, I’ve, I’ve kind of, I haven’t been there.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t been there. My kid is so far as I can tell, not psychotic, but I know as a parent, how you feel kind of at the end of your rope, right? Your kid is just. Not responding rationally. He’s not doing the things he’s supposed to do. He’s not listening to you. He’s not, he’s just, you don’t understand it.

And even, even giving allowances to the fact that I know he’s a kid, his brain isn’t properly developed yet. He doesn’t have these XYZ skills and XYZ ability to manage his emotions, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You still feel like sometimes like my God, what I’m supposed to do as a parent. It’s something extreme to shock them, to like finally teach them like, this is not okay.

You think this is funny. Uh, you’ve been doing this off and on for the last three months and we kind of put up with it, but no, no words are working. And so I’ve got to change tactics and I’ve got to like, do something emotional and visceral and whatever to like, get your attention and get it through your brain that what’s going on is not cool.

Okay. Then when you do that, you step back from it and Amelie, you feel a little guilty and you feel bad. You know, it’s just, it’s a shitty position that I think probably most parents find themselves in at one point or another. And so somehow, obviously not to this degree, but I could relate to the general idea.

Of the situation. These, these mother and father had found themselves in the extreme measures they’re doing what they truly believe in their hearts is necessary in their own ways to deal with it. And from an outside person observing it, it. Crazy. 

Craig: Right. I can also imagine as a parent that you would desperately want not to believe that your, there was something wrong with your kid.

Now, w what’s going on here of course is extreme, but mental illness and behavioral problems are very. Things. Yeah. And every psycho killer was somebody’s kid, but you would never want to think that about your own kid. And I can imagine why I can’t imagine. Being in such denial for so long, but I’m not a parent.

So I don’t know. What I do know is that the next, the dad says it’s over. And the next holiday we cut to his Easter and miraculously and the mom tells us this through voiceover narration. Are fine. They’re perfectly normal. All their anti-social violent, aggressive behavior has been, um, eliminated by the medications.

Their behavior is, is so good that they’ve actually been permitted back in school. They’ve even befriended the kid that they assaulted and they invited him over. For Easter for an Easter egg hunt, one, why would this kid’s parents allow him to go to their house? Do they hate 

Todd: him? 

Craig: Secondly, these parents are so likable, as far as personalities are concerned, but they are stupid like that.

You know, it’s Easter and everything’s great. And the dad’s in an Easter bunny costume. They leave their kids upstairs with this other kid watching TV. The dad goes in and checks on them and the kids are super friendly and everything seems fine. And the dad tells each of them separately that he loves them and they both say they love him too.

And then the mom and dad are downstairs, like filling Easter eggs or whatever. And then it’s time for the Easter egg hunt. So they go to get the kids and the kids aren’t in there. They’ve set up nativity. Figures to look like them sitting there, but they’re gone and they’re out the window. They’ve made a rope out of sheets or something and they’re out the window.

So the dad goes running, looking for them to their clubhouse. And you just know what who’s got to find some sort of nightmare, which. I mean, the first thing he finds is the dog’s head on a pike. Like I told you get rid of that dog, but the dogs head on a pike and then he goes into the clubhouse and there’s all these like satanic, violent pictures, pasted all around.

There’s this huge illustration of a two headed dragon, like. One big wall. And then he goes into like, what looks like the back room of the clubhouse? Like how big is this clubhouse? 

Todd: And 

Craig: he finds, yeah. And he finds the kids standing over this poor kid that they had invited over. They’ve got him in a trash bag and they’re holding like.

Implements now, I don’t know if they had actually started torturing these kids are yet not, but then the next scene I felt like was. Maybe the most heartbreaking, but also the most real when it’s just, it cuts away from this horrible scene of violence to just the parents sitting in like kitchen chairs in front of the fireplace.

And the dad says against our wishes because it’s Easter Sunday, the department of children and family services. I said that we have to maintain custody of the kids until we can have a hearing tomorrow. I don’t believe that no, 

Todd: first of all, it doesn’t happen that way. 

Craig: No. Um, those kids would be in juvie for sure.

Todd: Some cop is on duty at this point and would’ve, would’ve gladly hauled them off. 

Craig: Right. But they say. That they’re going to be charged with illegal restraint and attempted murder or something. They’re going to be in juvenile hall, at least until they’re 18 or whatever. And this part is sad because whereas the mom kind of, I think she just is holding it better, holding it together better.

And I think that she just understands that. Has to be the way it is, but the dad, despite everything that’s happened is in morning, as I can only imagine that you would be, you know, they’re still your kids. 

Todd: He said some very genuine things there he’s he literally says that he’s like, there’s still my son and I, how can I help?

But love my son and my sweet, sweet daughter. It is, it is heartbreaking. And it does call, call into question, like, like what were these kids like before. I don’t know, year or whatever it was, you know, the point at which they started clamming up and being weird. I mean, there’s a whole relationship. They’re building up to this turning point that, that we never get to see.

Right. I don’t know if that’s a fault of the movie or not. I mean, I guess it just is what it is. I, I kinda kind of want to see. 

Craig: Yeah, but I kinda, I kind of like that. We don’t know. I kinda like that. Uh, it’s just unexplained and we don’t know. Have they always been weird? I don’t know. I mean, again, we know that they moved out there in the hopes that their family dynamic would improve.

So they’ve clearly been having some issues for a while, but anyway, there’s that very sad, heartbreaking moment. And then the camera shuts down and then it comes back on. And now the kids have the camera and they’re making their own movie and he is now talking directly to them. Hi and welcome to the Jack and Emily show.

I’m Jack and Natalie let’s have some fun. You’re quiet in there. I can’t even hear you, but I know you’re there. What type of staring contest I dare you to stare until our movie’s done. And at this point, The kids have been in charge of screening this movie for us the whole time. 

Todd: Yeah. That’s what 

Craig: I thought too.

And this, I mean, it’s just, you watch them. It’s just, it’s so dread, inducing. Like I was just, you know, it’s going to be horrible and you watch the kids gather nails and a hammer and a baseball bat and they like set up nails poking up in the lawn. They cut the lights, they cut the phone line. The sun picks the lock into the mom and dad’s room where they’re just laying on top of their comfort or fully clothed holding one another asleep 

Todd: are these dumb ass parents with these psychotic kids.

Who’ve got them for one more night, have decided to just fall asleep. Right? I would have been up all night, man. I live it up all night with those psychotic kids, Micah, the kids 

Craig: knock them out with the baseball bat, beat the crap out of the dad, tied them. Set them up at the dining room table and all of this happens very quickly and it’s very brutal.

The mom’s able to free herself, but she can’t call the police cause the lines. She goes upstairs, looking for the baseball bat. They’ve stabbed her in the arm. They’re now wearing their Japanese dragon masks. Again, somehow the mom gets the camera and the bat back and the parents are free and they’re going to leave.

They’ve got a little overnight bag packed for the kids, and this is all happening very quickly, but she, she looks at the kids and says, you are not our children. I don’t know what you are. But then the dad goes to grab something. He complains a little bit of a headache and, you know, just seconds after that, he’s out of frame, but we hear what ends up being him falling.

And the mom finds him. The fire alarm goes off, which leads the mom to the stove where she finds all of the kids pills like open and dumped out next to this soup that I guess that they had 

Todd: fed the parent. I guess I was a little unclear on that bit and the soup was in front of the parents. I didn’t see.

We didn’t see them. Yeah. We didn’t see them 

Craig: eat it. Yeah. I don’t know, like why would they, but I don’t know. The mom runs out. I mean, she’s drunk now too. And realizes it. She, uh, runs out and then she almost makes it to the road. As the ice cream truck is passing, but she passes out. They drag her back to the house.

In their wagon. And the last thing that we see the very last scene, and it’s so chilling are this the kids sitting on either side of the table, each of them holding up a fork and a knife wearing paper, sack masks, like the two headed dragon in the story did, and the parents tied up in trash bags on the kitchen table, just like thrashing, trying to escape.

Then it just cuts out and that’s the end. Yeah. It’s really dark. The, the thing, you know, talking about it. I, I really do think it’s a well-made movie, especially for a first outing as a director. I think that it’s good. I do think that it’s well-written and there’s lots of careful attention to imagery and, um, I think there are a lot of, um, suggested motifs and things through the images.

Tie things together. I was ultimately left thinking that these kids are evil. For whatever reason. I have no idea why, but they are evil. And this two headed dragon is a representation of them. The thing yesterday after I was done watching. The way that I was left feeling was that I thought that it was a well-made movie, but I didn’t know how I felt about it because it was so grim.

And so nihilistic that I just kind of felt. Well, no, it made me, I, it just kinda made me feel dirty. Like I kind of wanted to go take a shower. It was just like, Ugh, like I just wanted to get this off me, you know? 

Todd: I mean, I understand how you feel and I agree with you about how grim and nihilistic it is and, and the feeling you’re supposed to get.

I think for me, it was, and that made it one note. The movie starts, the kids are. And they continue to be creepy throughout. They do all the things you expect creepy kid to do. And, you know, you just know that the parents are going to get it and they do. And I don’t know, I just, maybe I think it was the lack of answers that provided any kind of satisfying aha moments or anything like that, that I just felt like I was just watching something go bad that I knew was going to go bad from the very start.

And I’m more or less. It could have gone bad and in any number of ways and the way it ended up going bad wasn’t particularly, I don’t know, ironic or anything like that, you know, just, I mean, yeah, the dragon motif you’re right. That was kind of maybe the thing there. I dunno, I was kind of nonplussed by the movie, to be honest.

Yes, I was disturbing, but we’ve seen a lot of disturbing stuff. And so I’m kind of numb to that. I, I want a little bit more than just seeing something disturbing play out on the screen and I don’t feel like this movie gave me much more than. Honestly. So I was a little disappointed in that regard in 2008, when found footage films were still more of a novelty.

I mean, remember that’s like, God, that’s like 12 years ago. So the film probably would have had more of an impact since then. I I’ve seen so much along these lines done so much better that maybe would have had a different impact on me then than it did now. So, you know, compared to Blair, which, I mean, it’s, it’s a way better.

If you’re going to just compare the genre and the way that they executed it, but. Compared to anything I’ve seen since I was kinda like, eh, okay. Uh, I probably won’t watch this again. I’ll probably forget a lot about it later. 

Craig: Um, yeah. I don’t know that I would watch, I don’t think I would watch it again either.

And that’s what I was, I was saying, you know, usually I try to think about who would like this, who is this the right movie for? And I just don’t know, like, I don’t even know that I would. Recommended this, yeah, this I, it certainly wouldn’t be even in the E it wouldn’t be on the list of movies that I would recommend unless somebody said, I just want something really dark.


Todd: That was one of many 

Craig: really. And yeah. And I don’t want to be too down on it because I don’t think that it’s a bad movie. I don’t think it’s poorly made. I think that the acting is pretty strong on. Around. And I did feel sympathy, genuine sympathy for the parents, even though I thought they made some really foolish decisions, but I think that you could justify those decisions with their love of their kids.

In my opinion, I am not trying to give it a negative review. It’s just kind of difficult to say, oh man. Yeah, there’s a great. Yeah. 

Todd: Yeah. I totally agree with you there, but, but thank you so much to Alec for recommending it to us. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise would have been hard to find otherwise good luck finding it folks, but there are other films you can watch.

Instead. I’ve been thinking actually, maybe we ought to do like a creepy kid theme month or something like that. It wouldn’t be hard. Yeah. It’d be interesting to kind of like, uh, compare the different ways this topic is approached and. For the years. Well, thank you again for listening to another episode.

If you enjoy this podcast, please share us with a friend. If like Alec, you want to recommend a movie for us to watch and Jabber on about. You can find us online. If you just searched two guys in a chainsaw podcast, you’ll find our Facebook page or Twitter feed and our website. Just leave us a message in any one of those spots and tell us the movie you want us to see and we’ll get to it until next time.

I’m Todd and I’m Craig, with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.

1 Response

  1. Alec Bolas says:

    Thank you so much for taking my request! I had a similar take away, it was compelling to watch, but afterwords it just made me feel shitty.

    Also, thank you for accurately pronouncing my name! Its a small thing, but it matters to me.

    I would like to make a second request: Dagon, directed by Stewart Gordon from 2001.


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