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- Directed by Shiva Rodriguez -

“The Family Way: Coming Home” is a short horror film about a young serial killer that falls into the trap of more experienced criminals.


Crawford is a goth kid who turns his angst and unhappiness against those who reject him in a monstrous way. He develops the ways of serial killer “à la carte”, but with an artistic touch: he paints the portraits of his victims with their own blood. A strange family of three, who investigates crimes independently, manages to attract the rage-blinded teenager into their home. But what seemed to be a quest for justice takes an even more sadistic turn.


The story is an innovative take on the typical crime flick plot: the resolution is not about finding justice or restoring peace, but about uncovering an even darker storyline. The hunter becomes prey, a hostage to an entire family of psychopaths that specialized in tracking, catching and possibly killing other murderers.


One can consider the plot has low credibility: an adolescent boy performs messy executions in full daylight, paints with blood, but remains undiscovered by local police. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like the purpose of it is to create a suspenseful experience, but rather a gory amusing story to entertain the fans of the genre.  


However, the film lacks a coherent visual style and a strong direction. While the premise is spine-chilling, the characters are underdeveloped and the over-explanatory dialogue makes it hard for the actors to give a more expressfull performance. They play half-heartedly, showing there was no proper character built-up before shooting. Also, a creative shooting script and complex lighting schemes always help a genre film with a limited budget to deliver all the expected tension and entertainment. The chosen artifices used to avoid the display of stabbings are almost funny: at some point, the camera hides behind some plants. Even a blood-soaked film with a hint of irony can keep it interesting to the end with the right devices. The originality of the script is not enough to keep the viewer excited.


To sum up, “The Family Way: Coming Home” is a short film that demonstrates the qualities of an imaginative director who needs to become more resourceful in terms of visual expression.

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