Would you pull your own front tooth out with a pair of pliers? Of course not. But what if your child was tied to a chair, with a razor held to their face? Well – OK! Yes! That’s the sort of psychological horror that home-invasion films bring to the table. But with so many titles brimming over the edge of this sub-genre’s cup of tea – from Aunt Rose to Funny Games to every other film where a family has been tied down to their family couch – its easy to believe that you’ve seen it all when it comes to the home-invasion plot.
That’s why I sought out the director to Replicas, Jeremy Power Regimbal – to get some insight as to what sets this film apart from the pack…
Replicas will make its World Premiere at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 21st.
“For me,” Regimbal answered, “its never been just a home invasion film, its been about exploring relationships in extreme situations and the house was always a character of its own in this relationship. When we created the story, we thought of all the nefarious ways that someone can steal a person’s identity, and that led us to push it as far as we thought was possible – actually wanting to kill someone and take over their life to make yours better. For me this film is about identity theft and social inequalities rather than invading a home but rather invading their life and trying to take it over in a disturbingly violent fashion.”
So what style of horror can viewers expect delivered amidst the violence? Jeremy Regimbal points the finger towards psychological, and expands on the plot by saying:
“‘Replicas’ is a violent psychological thriller that explores the question of how far a poverty-stricken family will go in today’s world to become the ‘perfect family’, while at the same time revealing how far you can push a damaged upper-class family before they retaliate. The film dives face-first into current themes of social inequality and identity theft, highlighting two very different families and how they relate to one another during a desperate and violent attack.”
Official synopsis: “Following the tragic death of their young daughter, Mark (Josh Close) and Mary (Selma Blair) Hughes decide to escape from their busy lives to their upscale vacation home in the woods, along with their son. Their attempt to get some quality time together is interrupted when an unusually friendly neighboring family with a hidden agenda stops by for dinner. But what at first appears to be a mere lack of social niceties is concealing something much more sinister. As their violent plot is unveiled over the course of a harrowing evening, a troubled family’s bond is put to the test against one man’s obsession with achieving perfection—at any cost.”
First-time director Jeremy Power Regimbal proves himself to be a master of atmosphere, turning the shadowy forest and the Hughes’ stately cottage into instruments of dread as the balance of power shifts from one family to the other. Regimbal builds tension to a calculated and ultimately brutal crescendo in this home-invasion thriller, favoring a slow burn to gradually tease out the characters’ unnerving tendencies as they head toward a vicious finale.