Jeremy’s Review: Patrick Wilson Kills It in Anthony Burn’s ‘Home Sweet Hell’, But the Rest of It Leaves Much to Be Desired

home sweet hell poster

It makes sense that Home Sweet Hell was released on Friday the 13th. Chock full of bad luck, and playing out like an Ozzie and Harriet version of Very Bad Things, the film capitalizes on familiar horror tropes with a touch of humor. It’s very clear throughout the film, by its script as well as how director Anthony Burns directs it, that the film has pulled from other great films. But does that make it good? Well…

home sweet hell - pw and kh

The premise of the film is one that is well worn. Furniture salesman Don Champagne (Patrick Wilson) seems to have it all – a great business, a nice house, two Aryanesque kids and a hot wife, Mona (Katherine Heigl). However, it becomes apparent fairly quickly that Mona is an overbearing, controlling 35-year old version of Regina George. She emasculates Don at every turn, micromanaging every detail of his life at home and at work. But Don is too much of a pussy to do anything about it. His parents-in-law have helped front their business and buy their immaculate house, so if he were to cut Mona loose, he’d have nothing. So he’s trapped. So when Dusty (Jordana Brewster), an attractive young woman applies for a job in his furniture store, things change. Don and Dusty start an affair and for once, Don is happy. But it’s very obvious that the happiness will not last. Dusty and her redneck boyfriend Murphy (AJ Buckley) are working an angle to extort Don for money, so she fakes a pregnancy and threatens to tell Mona if Don can’t come up $25,000.

home sweet hell - jordana

Don panics and decides to tell Mona since he can’t come up with the money. Mona, surprisingly doesn’t kick Don out, but formulates a plan to rid them of Dusty for good – she makes Don try to kill her. Don, of course, is a mess and flubs it and that’s when Mona kicks it into high gear, taking the reins and dispatching Dusty by channeling her inner Patrick Bateman (sans the Huey Lewis and the News, of course). But that’s only the beginning of their troubles. Murphy is onto them and the police come snooping around asking about her disappearance. So, the Champagnes are in a quandary and have to make some pretty tough choices to get themselves out.

home sweet hell - kh as bateman

This film had its moments and strictly speaking, Patrick Wilson‘s performance as the cornball, clueless furniture salesman was the high point. His characterization gave me the only laughs of the film. He plays a role unlike any other that I’ve seen him in and proves that he has comedy chops and isn’t just a pretty face. Katherine Heigl seems to have amped up every perception of her being a bitch and funneled that into her performance. I’ve never thought she had much depth and that is on display in full force here. She could have really run with this character, but she was so robotic that it was just tough to watch. And frankly the story was a retread of so many others that there just wasn’t enough new in it that really held my attention. Jim Belushi‘s turn as the hapless Les was a waste, but I will say that Jordana Brewster filled her role amply. There was very little in the way of character development for Dusty, but she was charming.

On a weekend where there is a live-action remake of a Disney classic (fucking vomit) and Liam Neeson trotting himself out in another ridiculous ass action movie, Home Sweet Hell might not be a bad choice if you’re going to the theaters, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…


About Jeremy Harmon

He is Jeremy Harmon aka Spirit of the Thing aka Harmonov. Once a Van Damme/action movie devotee, he now prefers to delve into small budget, independent and foreign films. Jeremy maintains that Slap Shot is the best movie ever. Follow him on Twitter @harmonov or read his new blog @

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