Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disturbing and uncompromising – if a little rough around the edges – Coming Home in the Dark is a visceral and intense experience that plunges you deep into debut director James Ashcroft’s vision. Starting off the story in the daytime was an interesting change from the usual horror scenarios, and the most grim moment packs a punch that drives the story into the nighttime. There’s a unique approach to the material as we desperately try to figure out whether these targets are random victims or a personal vendetta is at play. The performances are all consistent and great but one stood out to me above the others. I loved Daniel Gillies in both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, so I thought I had a decent grasp on what he would deliver here, but he goes to some truly horrific places. He plays the baddie as almost freakishly calm as he progressively grows more and more unhinged. The accents are difficult to understand, but thankfully they offered closed captions that helped immensely. Knowing the film is based on a short story, a couple of the shortcomings here make sense as the story often feels very sparse and lacking in details. There’s a minimal use of flashbacks that could’ve been either expanded more or taken out entirely, but as they exist now they add very little to the film other than padding out the runtime. Even so, this is heartbreaking and intense with some echoes of Funny Games and High Tension. It shows you the ugly depths of human depravity and indecency and closes out with a violent crescendo of release.

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