OVERLOOK Review: Don't Leave Home
An internal battle of faith when given what could be considered a gift haunting you forever is the backbone of this film. When the purest of faith becomes fact and that is in turn used for profit gives way to this horror of one's own talents. Imagery and visions of horrifying beauty craft the story here that keeps you questioning what you’re seeing.
In late 80’s Ireland, a young girl was painted in a Grotto praying to a statue of Mary by a priest named Father Callahan and mysteriously vanished never to be seen again. Many years later an American artist, Melanie, who sculpts dioramas has been researching the urban legend of the girl who disappeared and is fascinated with the many strange disappearances that have happened in Ireland building Dioramas for an art gallery capturing the grotto that Father Callahan painted in. She is called to Ireland by Callahan's caretaker to sculpt pieces for a gallery for the reclusive ex-priest and learns of the strange past and happenings correlating the disappearances and Father Callahan’s “Gift.”
I don’t want to spoil too much of the film and there’s not too much to tell as the film relies on belief more than anything. Very few things are explained but more just seem to happen. Father Callahan’s ability to paint people and they disappear into the ether is a curse to him but his believers want so desperately to believe it a miracle that sends people to heaven. Melanie is plagued by visions of the grotto and the statue of Mary in it. Melanie and Father Callahan seem to share a link in their ability to create art which permeates the boundaries of our world. This is all told through visions and ethereal shots that are very reminiscent of a 70’s ghost story. The quick zoom in shots and the music really showcase a love for that time period of filmmaking made popular by 70’s filmmakers like Roman Polanski.
Faith is this film’s main tool and its used as both something beautiful and disturbing to create a polarizing sense of horror and wonderment. Melanie is brought to Ireland to showcase her work for a group of private collectors and when that scene transpires it is very uncomfortable. The connoisseurs of said art are all dressed in powdered wigs, makeup and petticoats drinking as they look their noses down at Melanie. The showcase turns out to be for Father Callahan’s “Gift” and Melanie is the subject. The spectators paid top dollar to witness this miracle that for Melanie and Father Callahan is looked at as a nightmare. What’s uncomfortable about it is it rings too true to the real world. A belief in religion can be beautiful and uplifting but at what cost does the extremism of that ideal bring and is it worth it if it hurts another? Is hurting that other human acceptable because you think it’s helping them?
This is a super strange film that raises more questions than answers but gives you questions to take home as well and ponder if you allow yourself to dwell on its themes. Its one I can’t say is amazing nor bad as it just simply is and you can take what you will from it.