Welcome Home (2012) – By Darwin Knaggs

The storyline of this film is simple to the point of banality. Derrick Morrison returns home from a tour of Iraq. He is welcomed home by his family and loved ones who celebrate his return by throwing him a party. His return is documented and filmed by his younger brother, Ryan Morrison.

As the party begins, the family anxiously awaits Derrick’s arrival. When he does arrive however, they quickly discover that his personality has taken on a dramatic change, and he’s no longer the same loving spirit they once knew.

Within two minutes into this half hour film, it becomes entirely predictable that Derrick will put a bullet in his head, which of course he does. He takes out his younger brother Ryan as well which was not a big shocker. The "Derrick" character is just not likable, nor is someone you can really feel for and identify with. I think that is where this film lost me. The viewers would have been served if we had been given opportunity to know the "untainted", pre-Iraq Derrick before we’re introduced to the messed up in the head version. That would have created much more sympathy for the character and allowed the viewer to connect with him on a more human level, and understand the depth of what he’d been through to turn him into what he ultimately became. Apparently, he was an entirely likable guy before all of this, but we don’t get to see that part of it, which was a missed opportunity.

Some of the supporting actors did a really great job with their characters. I especially liked Uncle Mike, because of the reality the actor brought to his character. He reminds you of someone who could be in your own family, which allows you to connect with at least his character on a more personal level.

The filming had some brilliant moments, however, the shaky, Blair Witch camera style left me feeling like I just drank a bottle of Liquid Plumber. This can be a very cool technique when used in a subtle regard but otherwise it just comes off as little more than a feeling of contrived vertigo. The audio was crisp & balanced, but even with that being said, everything was drowned in awkward pauses before spoken lines. Perhaps a string-laden score would have saved these dry spots of audio white noise.

The film, at least for me, seemed to lack depth, back story, direction, and a main character you could really feel something for. While I applaud the effort, I’m sorry to say that unfortunately, I can’t applaud the results.