Holly’s excited to finally meet fiancé Richard’s three children for the first time at a birthday celebration for his youngest. Taking place at his ex-wife’s secluded home in the English countryside, Holly is nervous at the proposition of being a stepmom and eager to make a good impression on the children and his ex. However, when they arrive, circumstances are far from ideal.
She’s not much older than Richard’s eldest daughter, and the reception she receives from the two teenagers, Lucia and Ralph, is decidedly frosty. Richard’s ex is nowhere to be found, and the children are reluctant to share any more details about their mom’s whereabouts. Holly and Richard decide to stay until she comes home with Richard overzealously trying to lighten the mood by taking the kids swimming, throwing a raucous party for his youngest daughter Anna, and trying to be the cool, permissive parent who lets his kids get drunk off champagne. But as the days pass with no sign of the children’s mother, the children become more and more hostile to Holly, and her suspicions begin to mount. What at first appeared to be typical teenage angst escalates rapidly, until it is perfectly clear that something is very wrong in this house.
In Sebastian Godwin’s impressive directorial debut, a creeping sense of dread permeates the entire film. Atmospheric and increasingly claustrophobic, Godwin allows the story to unwind gradually, skillfully ratcheting up the tension. HOMEBOUND is a subtle chiller with excellent performances from the entire cast and a nasty brutality that sneaks up on you. Take a trip with HOMEBOUND and stay awhile! (LISA DREYER)