When you are making food, especially for other people, you will probably find a recipe to follow just to be safe and make sure the food tastes delicious. But, if you cook using the same recipe over and over again, the food no longer tastes delicious, it just tastes the same. Welcome Home played it safe and used a worn-out recipe.
Welcome Home follows couple Cassie (Emily Ratajkowski) and Bryan (Aaron Paul) as they rent a villa in the Italian countryside in an attempt to fix their relationship. Things have not been the same between them since Cassie’s drunken infidelity but, Bryan hopes that with this vacation the time will finally be right to ask Cassie to marry him. What the couple don’t know is that their vacation will be turned upside down by a devilishly charming neighbour named Federico (Riccardo Scamarcio), who slowly does more than just watch them. By the end, the couple has to fight to save their relationship, their freedom, and their lives.
Seems familiar? That’s because it is.
Couple go on vacation or family moves to new house etc. and a neighbour turns their life into hell; it has been done with thrillers, horrors, and even comedies. Filmmakers who choose to follow this template need to offer something new, or some kind of plot twist to counter the predictability of its story, but Welcome Home does nothing of the sort.
The minute the couple arrive at the house the audience can see the story unfold as they have seen it do so countless times. And, with the early introduction of Federico, any doubts about how the story will unfold vanish, and the film transforms into sheer predictability.
Another issue with the film was how long its second act dragged on, especially considering we met the villain and found out his intentions very early in the film. The climax in the third act comes too late, which is such a shame, since it is the most exciting part of the film and could have been outstanding.
The setting of the film is very appealing and fitting for the events; from the empty countryside and the abandoned houses nearby, to the intricacies of the villa which houses a wine cellar and secret passages.
As for the acting, Emily Ratajkowski was mediocre and her performance made her character seem somewhat unrealistic. Ratajkowski also lacked when it came to expressions other than crying – especially the frightened or traumatised expressions – which looked and sounded as fake as can possibly be. Ratajkowski was overshadowed by Aaron Paul who gave his character a subtle mean streak that came out more than once, revealing why his character could possibly be blamed for the dysfunctional relationship. Riccardo Scamarcio was able to convey the creepy vibes and the kind of reserved deviancy his role entailed. That being said, Scamarcio often held back and was not sinister enough for his performance to be truly memorable, especially when it came to is facial expressions in the climactic final scenes.
Welcome Home has a couple of exciting scenes that you may enjoy, if you don’t mind the fact that it is one big archetypal film.