I think student films often get a bad wrap, with the movie watching population labeling them as attempts by amateurs who are new to the business of film production. This is, of course, far from the truth, but that means a ton of student films are flying under the radar unless they manage to become an official selection in various film festivals. Luckily, London Film School graduate Andrea Niada sent me his short, Home Education, and it proves that fresh-faced film-makers are just as capable as distributed creators. It helps that Home Education falls into the horror genre, too. Here’s some of my thoughts on Andrea’s graduation film.
Home Education tells the story of a quirky, inquisitive girl and her mentally disturbed, controlling mother as they prepare for a love one’s return. You see, the girl’s father recently passed away and her mother convinced her that if they show much they miss him, he will return to them. When his body finally starts to rot and decay, this causes the girl to spiral into her own altered state and she questions all the lessons her mother taught her. This event forces her to confront her demons and discover what is truth and what is nightmare based. What she does this that information may shock you.
To be honest, Home Education has a very subtle creep factor to it. It’s not super bloody, it doesn’t have any jump scares, and it doesn’t feature any crazy special effects. But, even from the opening, it becomes apparent that something is wrong and you can’t help but to feel a little uncomfortable. Home Education has a sickening feeling that slowly travels up your spine as the story progresses, making you wonder just what the fuck you’re watching. I would rather a slow burn type of horror film that builds suspense than a story that throws everything at you at once. Though I will say, if you’re going to go there, go there.
I felt like I was watching a twisted fairy tale during my viewing; almost like someone took a Disney movie and stripped it of everything that was colorful and happy and aimed at children. My viewing was, probably, one of the strangest experiences I’ve had while watching something. I understand that Home Education demonstrates the phases of accepting death, primarily denial, and that it was going to be a somber event, but… The psychological traumas on the mother and daughter emulate the traumas of women in fundamentalist compounds. It’s certainly an original idea that had a lot going on, but it managed to come across smooth and cohesive on screen.
My only complaint lies with the run time. I think shaving off a couple minutes would have been beneficial.
Home Education is written and directed by Andrea Nadia with producers Chiara Cardoso, Flavia Monaldi and Anthony Alleyne and cinematographer Poom Saiyavath. Kate Reed, Jemma Churchill and Richard Ginn star.
FINAL SCORE: 8 out of 10.