Coming Home in the Dark, 2021

This is a New Zealand psychological and thriller movie based on the short-story from 1995 on similar label by Owen Marshall. The director was James Ashcroft with the writer Eli Kent and James Ashcroft

Cast Lists


Daniel Gillies performed as Mandrake                    Matthias Luafutu performed as Tubs

Miriama McDowell performed as Jill                        Erik Thomson performed as Hoaggie


Alan ‘Hoaggie’ Hoaganraad is a school teacher who was on the road trip together with Jill, his wife and with Maika and Jordan their two teen sons. While hiking, Maika noticed the two guys from a distance, watching over them before finally disappearing. While his family was having picnics by the lane, they were interrupted by these two violent drifters, Tubs and Mandrake. The pair robbed them at gunpoint, then, forced them to go down, but then before they leave, Maika was overheard by Mandrake where Maika called Alan as ‘Hoaggie’. Mandrake then killed Jordan and Maika and abducted the parents after the evening falls, knocking Jill unconscious and breaking Alan’s arm.

As Mandrake questioned the pair, he revealed that he was aware that Alan was a teacher and that he was an assistant teacher before in a team home for the troubled boys, one who was notorious for sexual and physical abuse. Alan guessed properly that both were once enrolled at a school, but he insisted that he was totally not aware of the said abuse; Mandrake doesn’t believe him and implied that they were driving to the schoolboy’s home. Alan pretended to accidentally hurt himself with their door while coming into the vehicle, but as he knelt next to the vehicle to “recover” he pressed the nail into that back left tire. During their stop in a gas station to refuel, Alan attempted to secretly signal the attendant at the station, but, Mandrake suspected this and killed the attendant through bludgeoning him with the fire extinguisher. Jill attempted to escape, but was then caught and forced to kneel later underneath the overpass. Threatening of shoot her, Mandrake forced Alan to confess that he was fully aware of every abuse he did, but then stopped and reported nobody out of fear.

Alan relays the story of the young boy who had tattooed a swastika over his arm; in a roll call, the admin painfully and influentially rubbed it from own skin with the nylon brush, which shocked everyone from the students. Jill was shaken by this acceptance, and later rebuffed Alan’s attempted at contact. Then it is clear that Mandrake cannot let her go, so she escaped from the moving car and then settles on jumping into closer by the river rather than going back to her abductors; and her fate is gone unclear. Alan briefly escapes the moment they stop to change the tire where Alan pressed the nail into, and reached the vehicle with the crowd of teens, but, Mandrake locates them and convinced them to allow Alan to be out from the vehicle, before killing them all except for one, who managed to escape. And Alan was recaptured and they finally reached the home.

Writer’s Notion

Some of the movie goers said that it is “pointless” however this is not a lazy writing that makes it. The idea of the movie is by showing how crazy anger will be and also how pointless their deaths can be, but still it happened. The acting here was good. The shock and ‘gore’ factors are great and every technical aspects are good and the plot itself was unsatisfying.

Gross violence with the psychopath and the story is not really remotely interesting. When you are someone who want to watch people viciously murdered for 90 minutes and so this movie is for you. You will be shock that there are really no twists or surprises, and it ended ridiculously. The ending does not explain that much and it actually adds up into this point. Still, you will feel not settled by the finale, cause, you will want some other closure. If there will not be lots of films to choose from, then you can watch this movie, but, this is just another choice if there will not be a lot to choose from.

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