Review: Welcome Home (2018)

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Directed by: George Ratliff | 98 minutes | thriller | Actors: Emily Ratajkowski, Aaron Paul, Riccardo Scamarcio, Katy Louise Saunders, Alice Bellagamba, Francesco Acquaroli, Evgeny Krylov, Igor Mikhaylov, Robert Babin, Sam Mane, Nav Ghotra, Daphne Alexander, Federico Riccardo Rossi

A disintegrating marriage, a remote medieval monastery, a mysterious stranger. Anyone who knows his film genres a little knows that this is a horror film or (as in this case) a thriller. In Welcome Home, the young couple Bryan and Cassie try to save some of their marriage by renting a renovated monastery in Italy. But the holiday has hardly begun when a stranger, the mysterious Italian Federico, shows up.

As a viewer you initially do not know why the marriage is so shaky and what Federico is up to. But soon we learn the answer to the first question and roughly the answer to the second. In that little word “about” lies the salvation of this thriller. We understand that Federico is not completely fresh, but whether he is really upset and why… We only find out very late, but until then we are in (light) tension.

Apart from that tension, “Welcome Home” has to have atmosphere and beauty. The atmosphere of the medieval monastery and of the nearby old town, the beauty of the Italian province. And then there’s the beauty of actress Emily Ratajkowski (supermodel type) who plays Cassie. Taking a shower turns out to be her biggest hobby, and because a film has to last at least an hour and a half, we get many shower scenes as filling. “Welcome Home” thus tends to be a bit like an erotic thriller, although he is a bit too good for that.

For a thriller, “Welcome Home” is a remarkably subdued film, without nervous music and scary effects. Also, in the first hour not too much exciting happens (except showering), but the threat is increasing. For the last half hour it is then let loose, and the makers immediately abandon any logic and probability. Then this turns out to be a thriller full of plotholes, strange actions and a bizarre (but secretly fun) ending.

For example, “Welcome Home” is a thriller that will have it just for some, and just not for others. A film that is entertaining and rarely bored, but that does not survive in quality. So that afterwards you feel more like taking a shower than just thrilling afterwards.

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