A tale of murder and mystery at an isolated farm. Some of them just aren't meant to make it.
“Home Kill is part of my on-going quest for an answer to the question: what does it mean to tell a cinematic story?
Previously, in my other works for cinema and television drama, I have sought to “tell a story in pictures” wherever possible. In my film Planet Man I relied on the audience’s cine-literacy in noir stylistics to tell the story. In another short film, Making The Rain Breathe, I told the 15-minute story of a domestic tragedy without a single word of dialogue.
By the time I came to direct Home Kill, my belief was that cinematic meant essentially the same as expressionistic. It meant using the cinematic apparatus at my disposal to create in the audience the same psychological state that was being experienced by the character.
Home Kill was the first screenplay written by a talented newcomer, Steve Springett. It was that rare kind of script - a blueprint for a cinematic event - and I felt it was an opportunity to work in an expressionistic vein, because the essential element of a gothic chiller is extreme emotional states.
Home Kill is also a supernatural horror film, a sub-genre with a rich lineage – fromJacques Tourneur (Cat People, Night of the Demon) through to more recent films such as Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and Kubrick’s The Shining . However, in the late 1970s this genre nearly vanished as splatter movies and horror-comedies took over. Recently The Sixth Sense and The Others have shown that the sub-genre still has immense appeal and Home Kill was targeted the same way.
Easier said than done, however. Supernatural thrillers rely on suspension of disbelief and so it is necessary to avoid genre clichés.
Home Kill took some risks in this regard, with the dynamics between the triangle of characters, and especially the depiction of Barry’s avenging demon. I underestimated the power of these genre signifiers and had to work hard to avoid them compromising the extreme emotional states which were our objective. I look forward to learning from audience reactions.
Home Kill is a dark film and a bracing experience to watch. On the other hand, fifteen minutes is a very short time in which to scare an audience. You need to put them on the edge of their seats within the opening minutes, and that’s a good discipline for a filmmaker. If it succeeds in doing this, I will feel I have created a cinematic film.”