Mediocre: Home Invasion

Home Invasion (2012)

Directed by Doug Campbell
Written by Michal Shipman, Ken Sanders, Christine Conradt, Doug Campbell
Produced by David Japka, Robert Ballo, Ken Sanders, Douglas Howell, Tosca Musk, Christine Conradt, Timothy O. Johnson
Starring Lisa Sheridan, Haylie Duff, Jason Brooks, C. Thomas Howell, Kyla Dang, Al Sapienza, Barbara Niven, Taymour Ghazi, Jason Stuart


In the commission of a botched burglary, a career criminal (Ghazi) is greased by the restaurateur (Sheridan) whose home he’s invaded. His partner (Howell) is afterward walloped and left for dead in the wild by the deceased’s girlfriend (Duff), who then locates her burglarious beau’s killer, joins her support group, and exacts revenge by assault, arson, contamination of pine nut salad dressing, and swimming lessons for her target’s lubberly foster daughter (Dang).


Shipman’s and Sanders’s story is formulaically fabricated to sequentially press every relevant button in the psyches of the alcoholic housewives, careerists, and cashiers of dollar stores addicted to Lifetime’s crime dramas. It’s a notch above most of its type simply because it’s less silly, notwithstanding the spoken surplusage of Conradt’s and Campbell’s screenplay. Naturally, this is all but a fantasy: intraracial crime committed by white Americans rarely involves breaking and entering.


Probably the most successful director in the stable of Johnson/Shadowland, Campbell heads this as procedurally as he has his hits in series such as …at 17 and Stalked By My Doctor. Expect nothing approaching experimentation or innovation from his workmanlike manner, and he’ll never disappoint you.


More often the victim than villainess in televised and direct-to-video productions, pouty Duff can twist her smile sweet to sinful at the drop of a hat, but she’s too cute to convince as a verisimilitudinous vehicle of vengeance. Good old C. Thomas chews his scenery as spicily as ever in his limited time onscreen, which is a treat for some nostalgists, who might notice that he’s at least 10 years too old for his role. He’s almost as entertaining when Stuart’s fruity chef peckishly reproves his crew. Everyone else is as unremarkably able as their director. Sheridan bears a striking similitude to Margot Kidder in her youth, but she hasn’t her personality, or personality disorders.


This reviewer is all but sure that most or all of Michael Burns’s and Steve Gurevitch’s percussion, pianism and syntheszised synthpads are algorithmically generated.


Spoiler: C. Thomas’s hapless lout resorts to squatting, survivalism, and subsistence on dog food through the first and second acts, yet he’s smoked straightaway early in the third by Duff’s schemer. A quick, requisite catfight between Sheridan and Duff precedes a sanguinary ending.


Fulsome flashbacks and moronically explanatory dialogue are provided for viewers whose attention spans are so deficient, they could almost be diagnosed with anterograde amnesia. After trekking through miles of wilderness, C. Thomas’s pristinely white sneakers are clearly brand-new.


Neither will these trespasses view themselves, nor those boxes of plonk drink themselves. Enjoy, ladies.

Execrable: Stalked by My Doctor

Stalked by My Doctor (2015)
Written and directed by Doug Campbell
Produced by Robert Ballo, Ken Sanders, Timothy O. Johnson, Marianne C. Wunch
Starring Eric Roberts, Brianna Joy Chomer, Deborah Zoe, Jon Briddell, Carson Boatman, Wyntergrace Williams, Caryn Richman
Look out, ladies: one creepy, crazy, craggy cardiologist (Roberts) is on the prowl for Mrs. Right, and liable to throw a psychotic, doll-mangling, trash-flinging tirret whenever rebuffed, as in response to one of his marital proposals at the prandial climax of a first date. Alas, L.A.’s dating market’s dispossessed of its most eligible bedlamite when he runs afoul in his OR of a foxy young patient (Chomer) sequent to an automotive crash ensuing her doltish boyfriend’s (Boatman) synchronic assays to drive and text. Who’s to say that writer/director Campbell didn’t craft this footling feature as much for casual riffers as for Lifetime’s targeted proto-menopausal demographic, affording as usual the lovely, imperiled maiden upon whom they can project their conceptions, her solicitous mother (Zoe), whose suspicious disapproval serves as the link for their identification, and toxic, misogynistic, patriarchal oppression personified as both the lunatic physician whose progressively criminal stratagems (in teetotal neglect of his Hippocratic oath) propel the plot with no minor expedition, and his victim’s faineant father (Briddell) and brainless beau, who enable him with damnable rationalization. Never mind its plenteous plot holes, or the stale and logically soluble propaganda as essential to this flick’s story as to its genre; Roberts is a gnashing delight in the lead, as much for his smarmily nonchalant bedside manner as his slurring, raving ebullitions, looking for all the world like a neatly preened, grandmotherly vagrant. As the weary gender wars will soon yield to authentic identitarian conflicts, propagandistic fare demonizing (invariably demented) guileful men and potentially rival women to capitalize on the feminine hindbrain’s instinctual triggers won’t be available in incessancy to aficionados of televised schlock. Savor them while they last!
Recommended for a double feature paired with Talk to Her.