The Hamiltons (2006)
Reviewed on 2007 August 14
This was the most subtle of the Horrorfest collection of 8 Films to Die For. Scary? Noooo. Interesting? Yeah, and pretty clever, actually.
The Hamiltons are a family in Your Town, USA. The parents died in an accident (we don’t get the specifics) and the kids try to hold things together. The oldest, stalwart and slightly nerdy David (Samuel Child), looks like an adult Opie Taylor after he raided an L.L. Bean catalog. He steps in the role of head of the family, herding his siblings to work or school and meeting with the social worker. Sister Darlene (Mackenzie Firgens) is a goth chick and we expect her to break out her easel and create some dark masterpiece, while her twin Wendell (Joseph McKelheer) is the family mechanic/bad boy/dispenser of noogies and teasing. The youngest of the four, Frances (Cory Knauf) is the “sensitive” one, chronicling his family via home movies and some “deep” narration. They seem like a normal, modern family. If you started with Frances’ camera and musings, you’d think the Butcher Brothers were going all Wonder Years on us.
The Hamiltons do have their secrets, and for 86 minutes, we’re trying to figure out what it is as they get weirder and weirder before our eyes.
If you want an old-school slasher flick, don’t rent this — stick with something tried and true like The Shining, Psycho or Halloween. If you want something that will creep you out and make you think, you’ll probably enjoy this. The pacing was a bit slow and the acting was uneven, and yeah, there’s a stupid and predictable sex scene towards the beginning (gee, we never see those in horror movies). And yet the idea was original and gets under your skin. There were even a couple of things set up as cliches, then swatted aside. That goes a long way in the horror genre. The other remarkable thing is that parts of it are funny, sick as they are. It’s also a possible explanation of some of our screwier neighbors.
Three chocolate morsels.