A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Home Sweet Hell is a dark comedy about a suburban mom who will go to murderously disturbing lengths to maintain her perfect life. Bloody violence includes a drugged woman being bludgeoned to death and dismembered with a power saw, as well as a scene in which two people are stabbed to death. Perhaps not surprisingly, nobody comes off well here; the women are treated as eye candy and sex objects, and the male characters are either violent, conniving criminals or a weakling who will go along with the most heinous plan to avoid offending his domineering wife. There's some racist and sexist language, a good amount of sex (including plenty of topless women), and frequent profanity (including "f--k" and "p---y"). One scene shows a man snorting crystal meth.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Don (Patrick Wilson) and Mona (Katherine Heigl) seem to have the perfect life, perfect home, and perfect relationship. At least it looks that way from the outside, but that's mainly because Mona is obsessed with creating that image and is ruthless about attaining it (she even has a scrapbook called "Our Goals" in which she has her long-term vision planned out). Her plan is threatened when Don is seduced by a new employee, Dusty (Jordana Brewster), and she announces that she's pregnant and is determined to keep the child. For Mona, there's only one way to resolve this complication: She has to make the problem go away, even if it means resorting to murder.
Is it any good?
One of the main problems with this irritating movie is that none of the characters are actually people -- they're all just character traits, people reduced to little more than basic motivations. Dusty is the seductive con artist. Don is a wimp. And Mona, oh horror! Mona is distant and unempathetic, so driven to attain her "goals" that she'll do anything, including dismembering a dead body with a power saw, to attain them. It's amazing Don has never realized before that his uber-controlling wife is a sociopath. (Also, major deductions for throwing OCD sufferers under the bus with this wildly stereotypical portrayal.)
The other main problem is that none of these characters is even remotely likeable. There's nobody here we want to see or hear from, and when bad things start happening to them, it's hard to tell whether the director wants us to feel bad -- or glad that they're getting what they deserve. They all deserve to be punished, but the audience deserves better than this.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way women are portrayed in Home Sweet Hell. Are the characters of Mona and Dusty well developed? Is there an obligation to have realistic characters in a movie that's purposely exaggerated?
How does the impact of the violence in this movie compare to a more traditional horror or action story? Does the fact that the movie is a comedy change how the violence affects you?
What is the movie saying about materialism? Is there any kind of positive take-away here?
- In theaters: March 13, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: April 7, 2015
- Cast: Katherine Heigl, Patrick Wilson
- Director: Anthony Burns
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, language, sexual content and some drug use
- Last updated: May 21, 2020
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