Welcome Home Movie Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Released by Vertical Entertainment
Directed by George Ratliff
Written by David Levinson
2019 98 minutes, Not Rated
Released on November 16th, 2018
Aaron Paul as Bryan Palmer
Emily Ratajkowski as Cassie Ryerson
Riccardo Scamarcio as Federico
Aaron Paul and Emily Ratajkowski star as Bryan and Cassie who, in an attempt to save their relationship, book a weekend away in the Italian countryside and become victims of the owner’s diabolical schemes.
Welcome Home begins with the beautiful couple finding their stunning Italian getaway – that utterly blows their minds on arrival. It’s idyllic, its better than they could have possibly imagined, and it’s of course ripe for something to go horribly, horribly wrong.
This opening to George Ratiff’s low-key thriller sets a compelling and ominous tone, and as the pair settle into their holiday home it becomes clear that there is literally trouble in paradise. The strain shows when, before a particular clichéd swimming pool skinny dipping scene, Bryan sees a missed call from a man on Cassie’s phone. Her nakedness does nothing to distract him and he uses the oldest trick in the book to get out of sex… that’s right, gnomes….who wants to have sex in front of a group of gnomes…no way right?!
It’ll take a lot more than a romantic getaway to fix these two, or their gnome issues, and as the first act unfolds we discover that Cassie has been unfaithful. What is a little unsettling is that we see the act in flashes as Bryan pictures her infidelity as if, a) he was there, and b) like it was some horrible murder scene, it’s somewhat unnecessary.
The story gets into its stride when Cassie goes for a run and after tripping and falling, hitches a ride from a handsome Italian stranger, Federico (Scamarcio) who lives nearby. He’s charming as hell, which is never going to go down well with Bryan with things being so raw, and Cassie thinks nothing of inviting Federico in for coffee. That’ll help.
We discover very early on that Federico is a sinister weirdo who has cameras all over the house for spying purposes and as things start to unravel they also become all too predictable. The earliness of the reveal makes the moment just feel so lightweight, which is a shame.
Scamarcio goes from friend to foe quite effortlessly and brings the film to life. Sadly for him, and us, the dialogue is so clunky and awkward and the chemistry between the three never quite clicks into place.
No spoilers, but the final act does throw up some interesting ideas but it just feels too little too late and things go from intriguing to dumb pretty quickly.
Emily Ratajkowski proves once again that she is a fine actress but here is reduced to being not much more than eye candy. She gets not one, but three shower scenes…all in sexy silhouette, this film’s got class when it needs it, dammit.
As for Aaron Paul, who these days sounds like he’s auditioning for Batman, or needs some throat medicine, must be counting the days until the Breaking Bad movie goes into production because post-BB, he really has suffered from B-movie fatigue.
Meant to do for Airbnb what Jaws did for going into the water, Welcome Home is never thrilling enough to get the heart racing or truly evil enough to get under the skin and although it starts out with potential it falls so flat half way through that, like the relationship between Cassie and Bryan, it just can’t be fixed.