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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Coming Home in the Dark (2021)

As if not already convinced that everything in New Zealand's great outdoors that is not a Hobbit is either going bite or kill or eat you (or all of these), then here we have another tale of what goes on in the dark if you venture out into the open air in this part of the planet.

During a happy-go-lucky family picnic, Mum, Dad and their two teenage sons are quietly minding their own business by a picturesque lake when two strangers approach. What follows is a gritty, barren (it's cheaper that way) voyage of discovery for all concerned. Well, for most concerned.

As we are afforded more time in the company of these people, the slow-burn story unravels, raising more questions as it goes along, keeping us both equal parts entertained and intrigued. The plot travels through territory that at time seems inconsistent, especially in the actions of Baddie #1, aka Mandrake, who appears to be excusing his shocking behaviour for eye-for-an-eye retribution which rarely, if ever, adds up.

Whether you reach the end liking or disliking any of these players is questionable as whilst the story is possible but still unpalatable, the writing and plot do not make us feel for anyone involved as much as it really, really should.


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