Homecoming (or, Misery for the idiot generation)

Director: Morgan Freeman (not that one) 2009
Starring: Mischa Barton, Jessica Stroup, Matt Long
Find it online: IMDB

Inexplicable golden-boy quarterback Mike (Long) returns to his hometown for a Christmas break away from University, his new girlfriend Elizabeth (Stroup) in tow. Only his ex-girlfriend, Shelby (Barton) isn't too pleased, and makes said displeasure known by kidnapping Elizabeth. Cue silly ankle torture, non-menacing psychopathy and lots and lots of bland predictability.

The whole thing plays out like Misery by way of The OC. And I'm not just saying that because it stars Mischa Barton; it's because The Homecoming is a whiny, vapid little movie filled with whiny, vapid characters and terrible American rock. This movie is to Misery as Swimfan was to Fatal Attraction.
That's a lie, for a start.

As some whiny American rock plays over the credit sequence, you know what sort of movie you're in for straight away. There's not a single ugly person in Homecoming, and you'll expect Tom Welling to show up at any moment to save the day. The whole thing looks and feels like an overlong episode of Smallville/The OC/One Tree Hill/90210 (from where most of the cast has apparently been culled).

It's completely unconvincing in every respect. Mischa Barton is incapable of conveying the requisite menace for her 'character', let alone anything remotely resembling emotion. She's no Kathy Bates, that's for sure. Her voice is so fucking irritating that you'll wish you were deaf everytime she opens her stupid mouth. Jessica Stroup does fine, although she's not required to do anything other than look all doe-eyed and helpless. Matt Long is so bland I've forgotten him already. There's nothing to justify Shelby's stalkerish behaviour. Most of the characters are supposed to be university students; yet they're so unremittingly thick, you'll have a hard time believing that they've ever been even near a school in their entire lives.

Anybody who's ever watched, read or heard of Misery will find Homecoming dull and predictable. This is a scary movie for people who don't like to be scared; a thriller for those who don't like to be thrilled. And, because the target audience are unlikely to have ever watched Misery, Morgan Freeman (no... don't be silly) and his script'writers' are free to rip it off and water it down as much as they see fit. There's foot torture, but nothing even nearly as iconically wince-inducing as suffered by James Caan. Homecoming is so pussified that I was surprised to hear Shelby actually say "fuck".

On the flipside of the turd, the cast are nice to look at. There's no nudity, but Jessica Stroup does look nice in a tank-top. Oh, and there's a funny moment where she hits Shelby in the face with a bit of toilet. Also, the first thing you'd do when fleeing a psycho is take the time to pull on a goddamn jacket and slip into a pair of Ugg boots.

Homecoming, then, is a pointless, humourless, witless little movie that feels like it should be a remake of something else. Had this starred, say, Lindsay Lohan and had the good grace to embrace the tired concept, maybe there'd be a few kitsch laughs to be had. But there aren't. Watching Homecoming will teach you the true meaning of the word Misery.

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