The Domicile: A Review
by Luce Allan
After his pregnant wife dies in a tragic accident, struggling playwright Russel Brody is left to take care of his mentally ill sister-in-law while his sense of creativity withers underneath his overwhelming depression. As Russel's mental and financial states worsen, his writing partner, David, attempts to revive Russel's spirits by suggesting that he reconnect with Lucy, a young woman with whom he'd had an affair before his wife's death. Unbeknownst to Russel, however, the ghost of his wife Estella has dwelled in their home since her passing, and is confronted with the revelation of Russel's infidelity. The Domicile (2017) chronicles the terror that ensues as Russel endures Estella's supernatural wrath.
The Domicile is robust with notable performances from an exceptional cast. Steve Richard Harris seamlessly navigates the varying emotions faced by Russel, a character who is engaging despite his myriad faults. Amanda Ruth Richie commands each scene she inhabits as Samantha, Estella's mentally-ill sister, as she exudes almost feral insanity with her facial expressions and body movements. While Katherine Flannery's character, Estella, is mainly shown at the beginning and at the end of the film, she makes each moment count, ranging from sweet and down-to-earth in life to eerie and intimidating in death. This versatility is also seen in Sara Malakul Lane's portrayal of Lucy, whose character undergoes complex transformations throughout the film; while the transitions that Lucy faces might be problematic for some actors to play, Lane handles them with ease.
While the plot at the beginning and much of the middle is strong and well-paced in its moments of tension and fear, the transition from the middle portion to the ending slightly unravels in terms of execution. A particular supernatural element that is hinted at throughout the film (especially in the beginning) has a rushed and vague conclusion at the film's climax, which is heightened by the score of the film overwhelming the actors' voices during a critical revelation in the storyline. While there are brilliant moments of unapologetic gore at the movie's end, the execution of the various plot points tying together feels awkward, and (on a personal note) led to several rewinds before a hazy conclusion about certain parts of the ending was reached.
Overall, The Domicile is a quality supernatural horror film with an excellent cast, although some of its limitations hinder the movie's ultimate effect.