Directed by Russell Southam | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
Most people associate the word “home” with paradise, however, the director here decides to include an oxymoron by using the words “hell” and “home” together. It may sound a little offbeat but the title compliments this extraordinary film perfectly. ‘There’s No Hell Like Home’ is a spine-chilling film which has the exceptional quality of keeping the viewers hooked on to their screen for the entire duration of fourteen minutes and forty-five seconds.
The storyline of this film revolves around one character, the protagonist, Melissa played by
Amber Howard. She returns from Hong Kong to her hometown Australia, living all by herself in an old apartment. She’s advised to quarantine herself for fourteen days by a government official, following the global pandemic protocol. Her new home has been portrayed in a dilapidated state as it has been vacant for years after her parents’ death. Coming from a different country altogether, travelling hundreds of miles to a place with no food supplies, family or any social support is definitely a difficult task. Being an independent woman, Melissa makes arrangements for herself quite well, but she fails to foresee the impact that her fourteen-day self-isolation would have on her and that is where the story actually takes a petrifying turn.
This film majorly deals with a concept which is still surrounded by stigma in our society, which is mental health. It has become even more imperative today because we’re all suffering in one way or the other due to this pandemic. Previously unfamiliar terms such as ‘self-isolation’ and ‘social distancing’ have become ‘new normal’ now, and in this unprecedented situation, the one thing which has taken a setback is mental health.
To bring some order to this chaos across the globe, mental health beds are being freed up to accommodate the rising covid-19 patients. Also, these patients are suffering from mental-instability in huge numbers after recovering from the virus. Medical staff are also being redeployed which has led to a huge shortage in the psychiatry department. Not only mental health but even public health services and border closures have added on to the entire situation.
The director has put in a lot of thought, time and effort to actually empathize with such people and portray a personal understanding as realistically as possible. He tries to realize the extent of pain and suffering caused by mental illnesses really well. Talking about this issue has become so vital and fundamental, especially in today’s world because it is most relevant now. Through this film the director aims to reach a wider audience who can accept and acknowledge this issue welcomingly. It creates awareness and emphasizes the importance of mental-stability in our society. The cast is led by Amber Howard who has performs extraordinarily throughout the film.
It is not at all easy for a single character to pull off such an intense storyline and ensure the viewer’s complete attention through its runtime. Hence, Amber definitely deserves a special mention for her performance.
Russell Southam is a writer, producer and director from Australia. He worked as an extra for the award winning film ‘The Telegram Man’, where he was encouraged by legendary Jack Thompson to take up film making and try his luck at screenwriting. His skills are praiseworthy, he is a true professional and loves what he does which is why his hard work pays off every time he creates something new. ‘Black Heart, Red Hands’ was his first project and this film is just his second but we can surely say that he has a long way to go after watching this.
‘There’s No Hell Like Home’ is definitely a must watch for all the viewers out there. It is a film which is going to add meaning to your life, make you tremble but surely leave a huge impact.
Samiksha Periwal is an 18 year old student from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is an enthusiast, eager to learn and explore. She has done her schooling from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata and is currently a student of Christ University, Bangalore pursuing a triple major in BA Psychology, Sociology and English. She is a passionate writer and has won many laurels for her school through the years.