Heading Home (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

 Heading Home is the story of a scientist who’s doing some secret experiments in the lab he has set up in his house.  He has a girl who lives there with him, and he gets regular deliveries of meat from some local butcher who wants to be paid.  When the scientist finally achieves what he’s been working for, the results aren’t really all that he planned for…at least I don’t think so.

This is a short film by director Jane Rose, and it’s based on a short story by a guy named Ramsey Campbell.  It’s unusual, but not unheard of for indie film directors to make shorts based on other people’s stories rather than scripts they came up with themselves.  In this case, I’m not sure if it was the original story or just the screenplay that came up lacking, but it felt like there was a lot missing here that made the whole thing somewhat confusing and less than satisfying.

For example, we don’t know what the scientist is really working on or why.  We don’t know who the girl living with him is, what their relationship is, why she’s so freaked out by what he’s doing or why she even stays there since he’s obviously verbally abusive towards her.  Then there’s the butcher who comes in and kills him at the end.  Why did he kill him?  Is there something going on between the girl and the butcher?  They met up at a bar and ended up going somewhere together, but it’s hard to tell if they did anything physical really, or if she just told him about what the scientist was doing.  The only thing that really makes all that much sense in this movie is how the ending is a play on the title.  I’ll leave that to your imagination and not spoil it for you, but really this film just didn’t work for me.

Whereas in my review of Demon Board (also in this issue), I mentioned that the movie should have been cut down to a tight sixty minutes, this film would have been better served had it been lengthened out at least twenty more minutes so that all of those little details that were missing could have been filled in.  As it stands, the film only comes in at ten minutes and thirty seconds, which in my opinion was just flat out not enough time to tell this particular story.

At one point, the girl opens up the door to this dark room, and we hear what sound like the quiet murmurs of a baby, and yet we never get to see what’s going on with that, nor is it ever mentioned again.

The acting in this film was generally ok, but less than stellar, which I think is also what led to my lack of enjoyment.  I wasn’t really feeling the characters at all, and because of that, couldn’t really get drawn into the story the way I would have liked to.

The editing, lighting, sound and camera work were all good, and I can’t complain about any of it.  There were also some nice, gory effects at the end, which actually made me kind of sick since I was eating a bowl of cereal at the time.  However, in the absence of the details that were necessary to make it a complete story, the whole thing just ended up falling short.