CUFF 2020 Review: Homewrecker a darkly amusing creepfest made for the introverts among us

This is a horror film for introverts.

I’m an introvert, and I found this story of a woman unable to get away from a friendly, clingy stranger quite uncomfortable to watch. It is extremely effective, and it ramps up into full caps-lock HORROR near the end, and I appreciated the moments of dark humour in the film, but yeah, if you’re the shy type, then watching Homewrecker will be a memorable experience, but not necessarily a pleasant one. Be warned.

Michelle (Alex Essoe) is having a frustrating day, but unexpectedly receives a bit of much-needed emotional support from Linda (Precious Chong), an older woman from her yoga class. Ignoring her “leave me alone” cues, the chirpy interloper manages to get Michelle to open up a bit about her problems, just enough for a little cathartic release and a potential bonding moment between two semi-strangers. They settle into friendly small-talk, and when Linda learns that Michelle is a decorator, they decide to take a quick, preliminary look at Linda’s house, just to get a feel for what kind of redesign it might need. 

I think I’ll avoid spoilers by ending my synopsis there. But you get the idea. Michelle doesn’t really intend to spend so much time with her new friend, but doesn’t want to be rude. Canadian audiences will relate. She tries to excuse herself and go home several times, but Linda is shocked and hurt at the suggestion, and always manages to keep Michelle around a little bit longer. 

The performances from both leads are letter perfect. Essoe’s patient discomfort is utterly realistic, and Chong gives off a vibe of fragile neediness that’s palpable. There’s a hidden desperation in Linda’s eyes that warns viewers that all is not right with her. The distractions that she offers Michelle are hilariously cheesy and dated (including one of those old VHS board games), which leads to some cringe-y moments of humour. Be warned that when things go wrong, they go very, very wrong indeed, with several moments of shocking brutality. 

Homewrecker is a darkly amusing creepfest that will set off the fight-or-flight instinct of any viewer who’s ever gritted their teeth through an overlong encounter with an intense stranger. 

Homewrecker is available for screening as part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival until June 28. To watch go to

John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his website, Facebook, Twitter and through episodes of a program he’s doing with NUTV.