Director: Mike P. Nelson
Screenplay: Mike P. Nelson
Release: June 28, 2018
Starring: Tyler Hoechlin as Mark West, Kate Bosworth as Nina West, Lance Reddick as Nathan Wood, Sonoya Mizuno as Betsy, and Dana Gourrier as Wanda
Running Time: 95 minutes
Reviews potentially contain spoilers
In a post apocalyptic Wisconsin that looks suspiciously like Louisiana, Mark and Nina West are gearing up to make the trek to Milwaukee to visit Nina’s parents. Along the way, the pair run afoul of a couple of the various gangs that now control huge swaths of the state and meet a nice family of suburban cannibals. Mark and Nina’s real trouble, however, starts when they run afoul of a gang of hipster furries with a proclivity for gambling. The pair are forced to play Russian roulette for the gang’s amusement, but things don’t go so well. Nina manages to break free, shoots the host, and upsets a very nice body positive lady with a fetish for shotguns. Mark and Nina escape in a stolen vehicle, but are tailed by the gang. The couple arrive at Nina’s parents house to find that both of her parents are dead. Much to Mark’s silent dismay, someone has also stolen Nina’s fathers Wildey Magnum from its safe. Beluga and her gang of hipster furries arrive and start threatening the neighborhood, but most of them get mowed down by Betsy, a young Asian sniper who has been following the main characters for some arbitrary and unexplained reason, with a machine gun. When Betsy, the unexplained guardian angel, reveals herself to Mark, Beluga kills her with a shotgun at close range. Beluga’s victory, of course, is short lived as she is promptly killed by Nina. Amidst the chaos, their marriage is reconciled. FIN. Fade to black, roll credits.
The Domestics feels like a bad combination of The Warriors, Mad Max, and the Fallout games. Everything about this film, the pseudo-edgy opening narration, the premise, the gangs’ various gimmicks, the 50s pop and doo wop soundtrack, and even the cartoonish violence, is set up to be a tongue in cheek grindhouse sort of affair. However, a little bit into the film’s run the filmmakers made a drastic mistake, they try to get you to take it seriously. When you’ve got the narrator spouting off silly vulgarities in a Rush Limbaugh meets Tom Leykis manner, and characters who have all the emotional depth of some late 90s WB teen drama that just doesn’t work. At the end of the day, looking at this mess, the only thing that I really can compliment is the cartoonish violence. Whoever did the visual effects did a great job. The film would have probably worked had they cut out the long stretches of deadpan, go nowhere drama and instead made a tongue in cheek post apocalyptic splatter horror. Also, if you’re going to try to do drama, try casting two leads who don’t sound like they’re reading from a script in their lap.
And the hot streak is broken. After five films with scores above 7, we return to the sewer. I was almost starting to get worried that I was going to turn into one of those annoying Youtube film guys who reflexively likes everything. If you’re in the mood for a little modern exploitation, there are far better films than this to spend your time on. Avoid this movie like Joss Whedon avoids dialogue that sounds even remotely human.