Director – Joe Dante
Cast – Jon Tenney, Thea Gill, Wanda Cannon, Terry David Mulligan, Robert Picardo, Beverley Breuer, Karen Austin
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is Joe Dante’s first entry into the “Masters of Horror” series, and stayed much in the “commentary” vein as his second entry, The Screwfly Solution. However this time instead of focusing on biological and sociological commentary, he went political. I tend to stray away from films that have a political bias, at least one that is outright, but thankfully this one managed to be a fun and very “undead” watch despite its bias.
“Homecoming” stars Jon Tenney as David Murch, a publicist for the US Army, which is currently at war in the Middle East. David is part of a live broadcast with a woman demanding to know from the current US president just exactly why her son, a soldier, died overaseas(bring back memories?). Because David lost his older brother to a war as well(Vietnam), he sympathizes with the woman and tells her he wishes her son would “come back” from war. Unfortunately for David, his wish is going to come true. Soon after his broadcast the bodies of dead soldiers brought back home rise from the dead. What business do the dead soldiers have rising from their eternal slumber? They need to voice their opinion over the war and give America a look at the outcome of what the soldiers believe to be a wasted war. How do they plan on making their opinion matter? Easy, by voting in the upcoming presidential election only days away.
Well, I can honestly say that I have never come across a zombie flick quite like this one. Usually the zombies we get in horror films are the result of a biological mistake at the hands of the government, never have the zombies really had a “purpose” for their being…until this flick. It was awesome to watch them rise from the dead with no thirst for the brains of humans, but to make a political statement…and then eat the brains of those who lied to them and sent them overseas. Heh, oh vengeance…how I love thee.
Dante’s direction is positive and he lays on the gore at just the right moments. I like that he kept this from being an overly cliché zombie flick yet still kept the zombies true to form, minus their “talking”. due to the fact that the storyline required the zombies to speak when need be, I am willing to look past the zombie blasphemy and embrace it. Story-wise this was a cool watch although I do wish it would not have had so much obvious political commentary and just gone the route of being its own original film. It is obvious the nods towards the lying government had to do with former president George W. Bush and his staff, many facts that would have allowed the use of war in the Middle East were left out, most importantly…the events of 9/11. Like I mentioned earlier, I really do not wish to see political commentary in a film unless it attacks both sides, or just stays unbiased. I never want to watch a film that comes off like its screenplay was written by Michael Moore or Ann Coulter. Had this flick gone on its own and given us the same conflict but without the obvious nods to certain political figures and created some on its own then I would have respected this film a bit more. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable enough for a 7-rating.
Overall, this was an interesting take on the zombie sub-genre by throwing in a political element that we rarely, and thankfully, do not see very much of in the horror realm. Give this one a watch if you want to see a different zombie flick or hate George W. Bush and his lackeys.
– I ranked this film #15 of the 26 entries in my Ranking the “Masters of Horror” Entries post.