Horror films are all about life lessons: don’t build creepy dioramas of haunted places, don’t accept jobs from priests with shady pasts, don’t travel to a foreign country without telling anyone, don’t go into the woods alone, don’t announce your plans to leave when the people hosting you clearly don’t want you to leave, the list goes on and on, and many of those lessons appear to be at the forefront of Michael Tully’s latest film, “Don’t Leave Home.” The film, which stars indie mainstay Anna Margaret Hollyman, premiered at SXSW this past March, and went on to screen at the horror-centric Overlook Film Festival, along with the Sarasota Film Festival and PFFF, and is gearing up for an autumn release.
As IndieWire’s own Eric Kohn wrote in his SXSW review, the film packs “a premise that suggests ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ through the specter of Catholic guilt, and a kooky gothic setting right out of ‘The Addams Family,’ this bizarre atmospheric horror effort hails from familiar storytelling traditions while remaining unpredictable throughout.”
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Hollyman stars as artist Melanie, who travels to the Irish countryside for a special art commission that comes with some serious strings attached. Melanie’s work is mostly concerned with crafting dioramas (hello, “Hereditary”) of places with off-kilter histories, and one of her newest pieces — a house where a young girl vanished — has attracted the attention of a reclusive Irish priest with a connection to the missing girl. Will Melanie come visit and make a new piece of art? Sure, why not?
You can probably guess that this all won’t go too well, but Tully’s atmospheric film features plenty of surprises, more than a few of which are cleverly hinted at in the film’s chilling first trailer.
“Don’t Leave Home” hits theaters and VOD on September 14. Check out our exclusive trailer below.