Don't Leave Home (2018)


A quick note right here at the top, this is a bit of an atypical special occasion for us. At the time of this writing this is a brand new movie, and as such we’re going to give it a slightly different treatment than usual. We’ll keep it largely spoiler free so you can go in blind if you feel the need. Don’t Leave Home is Michael Tully’s and Cranked Up Film’s 2018 isolationist horror movie, chronicling one of many reasons why you should never venture into the Irish countryside to live with strangers.

Reviewed by: Mark


Plot Overview

Melanie Thomas (Anna Hollyman) is an American folk artist specializing in soap box dioramas based on urban legends. Before her exhibit on a new piece based on an Irish tale of a young girl disappearing simultaneously from a painting and from real life is able to premiere, she receives damning criticism from the local art critic. Sent spiraling into worry and self doubt, she receives a call from the estate of Alistair Burke, the painter of the mysterious source material, requesting her presence at his estate to create a custom piece.

Image courtesy of Cranked Up Films

Image courtesy of Cranked Up Films


Having no real other options, Melanie travels to the Ireland to meet father Burke and his cast of supporting characters, get the lay of the land, see the sight of the disappearance, and become inspired to create a new commision. What follows is a meditation on isolation, religion, art, and the sublimely weird.

What You Will Like About This Movie

If you are a fan of slow, heady psychological horror, then this will be right up your alley. The general composition of this film so perfectly leverages the desolate and solitary landscape of the Irish moors that you begin to wonder why more movies haven’t done the same thing. Even within the walls of the castle where Melanie stays, the rooms are sparsely decorated and bland underscoring the cold and awkward feelings that Melanie is experiencing. Beyond the visuals, the score is populated with choirs and mischievous strings that rely upon the countryside backdrop, but also augment the setting the as a whole.  

Image courtesy of Cranked Up Films

Image courtesy of Cranked Up Films


From the horror side of things, the film should be commended for its lack of reliance on jump scares. There are basically none in this movie, and while I believe jump scares are an important part of most scripts, this one scoots along pretty admirably relying solely on just generally weird and sublime visuals. It may not be one that has you shrieking in your seat, but it certainly does have the style that will linger heavily with those willing to stop and smell of roses.

What You Won’t Like About This Movie

The trailer prominently mentions that it is from the producer of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although that may be true, including it as a selling point is a bit misleading. This is not an action packed slasher. In fact, it is about as slow a burn as you can find. I don’t use the term meditation lightly. This is literally a movie that you could meditate to. If you’re in the mood for a fast paced scream-a-minute horror, then this is probably not the droid you were looking for.

The Verdict

Don’t Leave Home is a slow burning horror centering on guilt, self-doubt, and alienation. As you might expect it’s not exactly a thrill-a-minute watch, but if you’re in the mood for a minimalist and contemplative slow burn then this one is definitely for you.

Image courtesy of Cranked Up Films

Image courtesy of Cranked Up Films