I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a dark comedy written and directed by actor Macon Blair and stars Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood as an unlikely revenge pair. As all Sundance experiences go, I didn’t know anything about this film walking in and therefore had absolutely no expectations. Even still, this film managed to surprise me with its style, and how it blended shock-value gore with subtle and mundane humor; it really is an art form that not many films can pull off, but this one definitely did. Even just the premise is humorous, how about a single middle-aged woman was robbed and recruits a strange young man who lives down the street to help her track down the thieves, and really allows for a lot of fun to be had while watching the movie. It’s not for everybody, though, as there is a huge emphasis on shock-value, but those who enjoy dark comedy like Quentin Tarantino films may thoroughly enjoy this movie.
As I mentioned, the premise of this film is hilarious; the mundanity of the beginning makes you feel almost at home, and we get used to the quiet and lonely life that Lynskey’s character lives. Then, all of a sudden, she is robbed and must track down the thieves. Just as she is, we are unprepared and thrown into a new, twisted, and exciting tale of revenge. In order for her to help find the thieves, she recruits her heavy metal and karate-loving neighbor with a Padawan braid to help her. Then, the bloodbath begins. This is where I have mixed feelings about the film: the shock-value gore was a little much for me as it was just extremely over-the-top, loud, and in your face that it was sort of a turn-off for me, but since we’re in the shoes of an every-day-woman, the violence technique that the film employs is perfectly effective. I was really into the film until then, honestly, and even though it kept me from enjoying it to it’s fullest potential, I still had a lot of fun with the rest of the movie. Just to give you a little information of what turned me off from the violence: when characters fight physically, you can hear very well the sound of bones breaking, knuckles cracking, ligaments tearing, etc. and it’s disgusting, but in a humorous way. Even Lynskey’s character vomits everywhere during one fight because she was just as disgusted as the audience should feel. Emulating the style of films the director has starred in (Blue Ruin, Green Room), this film pulled no punches whatsoever.
To expand on the shock-value aspect, the gore wasn’t the only surprising thing in the film as the story, in general, was very unpredictable and kept me on my toes throughout. It really was just a lot of fun seeing somebody resembling your aunt or neighbor running around trying to take down some thugs, and because of this fish-out-of-water story, a lot of humor and twists arise in unexpected ways. Actually, there is so much gore but it’s the blend of comedy with this grit, which gave the film something new. Another aspect that I really appreciated about this film was how real it felt, even though it was over-the-top in every way. What I mean by this is that the film does things that you’d think it wouldn’t do just because it’s so obvious such as our protagonist using location services to track down her laptop at the thieves house. This scene allows for so much humor, even just in how surprising it is that a scene like that even exists and I really loved the film for moments like those.
The main cast members were perfect and easily were two people that I wouldn’t have thought to cast but now I wouldn’t be able to recast at all. Lynskey was impeccable as the uncomfortably out-of-her-league woman tangled up in this web of crime, and Elijah Wood was hilarious as the martial-art loving man-child. The rest of the cast was also effective, although had less of an impact on me than the two leads, especially the villain who I was annoyed more than anything. Nothing in this film was by accident, however, and if you like the style that this film has to offer, then I can see you having a lot more fun with it all than I did. I was prepared for a fun dark comedy, but this thing is a fun DARK comedy which is almost hard to watch at times, at least for what I was expected. I do have to applaud Blair for his filmmaking, though, as it was top-notch, if not for me.
Overall, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a long but great title for a film that makes the audience feel very much uncomfortable with the world it throws us in. Lynskey and Wood give great performances that ground the film is a comedic mundanity whilst thrusting us into a very over-the-top story that is sure to gross out many audience members (including me). This film will most certainly find it’s cult-classic audience, though, and will definitely maintain a strong fan base. If you’ve seen Blue Ruin or Green Room, which had Macon Blair acting, you can see where he gets his tonal inspiration, but adds his own Tarantino-style comedy to it all. I thoroughly enjoyed a large portion of the film but was turned off by the shock-value gore. This film won the Grand Jury Prize for a Dramatic Film this year, Sundance’s highest honor, so I’m sure I’m in the minority for not loving the film as much as other people! I’m going to give this film a 6/10 and a yellow recommendation! Have you seen this or do you plan to see it when it hits Netflix soon? As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!