A school teacher is forced to confront a brutal act from his past when a pair of ruthless drifters takes him and his family on a nightmare road-trip.
Cast: Erik Thomson, Daniel Gillies, Miriama McDowell, Matthias Luafutu, Billy Paratene, Frankie Paratene
Directors: James Ashcroft
Writers: James Ashcroft, Eli Kent, Owen Marshall (based on the short story by)
Beautiful backdrops and vistas in Coming Home in the Dark don’t save it from becoming one of the most intense thrillers of the year featuring a disgusting and utterly memorable villain. Even if it falls into some stock-standard thriller tropes, the direction and performances elevate the film into the must-watch territory.
Hoaggie (Erik Thomson) is on holiday with his wife, Jill (Miriama McDowell) and two sons, Maika (Billy Paratene) and Jordan (Franki Paratene). Other than the kids lost in their phones, everything seems to be going well until a secluded picnic is interrupted by Mandrake (Daniel Gillies) and Tubs (Matthias Luafutu). The two men have seemingly appeared out of thin air to begin to terrorise the family. They’re shoved into a car backseat, and a road trip of terror begins, with no known destination insight. The question becomes about what Hoaggie is willing to do to protect his family, just as much as it’s what does Mandrake and Tubs want from the family?
Daniel Gillies’ Mandrake, is scene-stealing every moment in Coming Home in the Dark, and it’s impossible to look away from him as he monologues or stares off into the distance with a dark and deep desire buried in his eyes. His introduction to the family is particularly memorable as cinematographer Matt Hanley paints Gillies against a sunset and keeping Mandrake as mysterious as possible. When Mandrake reveals himself it’s only as the sunset has begun and as the dark night is about to begin.