Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Break-In (2016)

My home has been burglarized four times since I moved in (2008). Thankfully items were only stolen from my patio. Until a new patio door was installed I had to barricade the door with extra panels of wood. I caught the last burglary in the act, and demanded my stuff back. This could either be considered one of my finest or idiotic moments. I got my stuff back though.

The invasion of privacy felt after you realize your home has been vandalized is a a powerful one. I dare say one goes through nearly all the stages of grief. Although I was primarily stuck in the Anger stage - going so far as to post signs all over my patio wall, cursing the thieves and their next of kin for seven generations - break-ins are a serious matter. They can be very dangerous, sometimes life-altering, and often times demoralizing.

They also make for some powerful horror stories, as demonstrated by the writer, producer, and actor Justin Doescher in The Break-In.

IMDB image from The Break-In

Justin contacted me recently and asked if I could review his film. I jumped at the chance (Love Love Love independent horror). So my Husband I wrangled up a dinner, settled into the couch, and watched a tale unfold that both caught me off guard and was loaded with sociological messages.

This story revolves around a pregnant couple who has recently moved into a renovated town home, located in a what appears to be a 'rougher' side of town. Their best friends have moved into the home next door - life is looking pretty good for the four of them. 

The soon-to-be father just got a new phone and is recording his new life with it. All the time. My Husband and I chuckled at this, as he just recently got a smart phone for the first time. He no longer jokes about how attached I am to my phone. He get's it now.

Break-ins are escalating around the neighborhood, so the couple decides to invest in a security system. Here is where problems being to mount, as despite the added digital security, signs of a break-in in their own home are evident. 

This movie is an excellent peeping tom into the realms of gentrification, the dangerous and very serious power of stress, fear and privilege, and the paranoia that evolves from it all. I did not think I would be encountering all these message in just one film! I love this about horror!

Filmed as found footage, a style that can be difficult to manage and make believable, I was pleasantly surprised by the honesty of the actors. Honesty is the first word that pops into my head. These characters are absolutely believable, comfortable, breezily attentive to the camera - and we, the viewers, easily responded to this excellent acting. So much so that my Husband and I turned to each other and said, "We would not be friends with them." The actors, probably. The characters, no. We don't run with that crowd. Which is why I was so impressed with the acting, I was immediately drawn in despite the characters. 

The only complication I had with The Break-In were the cuts in-between scenes. My Husband found the few seconds of TV static distracting, I thought perhaps the white noise was meant to ignite a more edgy feeling, an uncomfortable nerve-racking feeling. If the static sound effect was intended for that purpose then it worked, although I don't think it was necessary to make the film more dramatic. It was plenty dark and daunting without. 

The ending of this film is absolutely impressive - solid and bitter cold. Not an easy task, for found footage especially. With a story that began cute and sweet, in just an hour and twelve minutes, it turned very dark and twisted. I think my exact words were: "Eeegads, man! That's messed up!"

In all I very much enjoyed this film. It is creepy crawly scary and I highly recommend it for fans of thrillers, psychological horror, and independent films. A creative story that will leave viewers researching the internet for more of it's like (and the stories that inspire them), while also - probably maybe - locking the deadbolt.

Pairs with wine or margaritas, a nice and simple home-cooked meal, and in a small group of your closest friends. Close all but one of the blinds, turn off all the lights (except that patio light), and be sure to grab all the blankets.

Thank you, Justin, for introducing this movie to me and keep up the good work!

I saw this film on the director's Vimeo channel (direct link below). Or use the links under Find It. Watch It. on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this jarring and quite unsettling look into some of the things we fear the most.

Here - check out the trailer (it will also take you to the movie)!

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