Family is a demented journey into the nightmare next door. It is presented in such realistic fashion that it will leave you feeling haunted. As a criminologist who is familiar with the high rates of domestic violence (now called IPV, interpersonal violence) in America and around the world, I often find myself looking at neighboring houses, wondering what is happening behind closed doors. Family provides a chilling insight into the unfortunate reality of many and reminds us that just because the outside looks untarnished, doesn’t mean that there isn’t evil lurking beneath the surface.
Family follows Lily, the middle daughter in a hellish dynamic that includes her insane older sister; narcissistic, uncaring, mother; incestuously loving brother; and scumbag father who abandoned the family but likes to keep up appearances. Considering these are her relatives, Lily is seemingly normal, and appears to have just internalized the trauma from her upbringing. However, one day after many years of abuse, a series of events cause Lily to snap. She then finds herself talking to the daughter of her therapist to work out these odd events, but as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Lily is not unscathed from her traumatic childhood.
Family is a rough ride and is ruthless in its storytelling. Just when you think that Lily’s family cannot be more f**ked up, the plot brings the audience further into the darkness. This not only makes for delightful storytelling, but also reminded me of a modern Flowers in the Attic. Flowers in the Attic follows the plight of three children who were locked in the attic during their formative years and without contact from the outside world are unable to form healthy relationships which twists their judgement as they age. In terms of Family, it’s unsurprising that Lily’s brother is in love with her, since their upbringing often placed her as the caretaker and provider as their actual mother was a shell of a person who actively avoided her children.
As the story of each family member unfolds, Family will disgust, revolt, and surprise the viewer. However, the most terrifying part of the film is that these dynamics between Lily and her family parallel real life. They are not fantastical, unbelievable accounts, they are completely plausible and that is the true horror. Often in the news we read stories of incestuous family relationships or families that lock their children in cages or fathers that have children with their own daughters. We would like to think that we don’t know anyone like this, that there is no way that our neighbors and relatives are capable of such evil, but the truth is that 1 in 7 children experience violence at home, with that being 1 billion globally (according to the Childhood Domestic Violence Association). So unfortunately, Family, just represents a dark version of a much larger problem.
Overall, Family is an impressive film that will leave viewers shocked and intrigued. Although, my only issues revolve around the insertion of the daughter of the psychiatrist (as it is really unnecessary). Otherwise, Family is a fantastic experience and a must see if you like psychological thrillers. It is available on Digital and DVD now.
WICKED RATING: 8/10
Director(s): Veronica Kedar
Writer(s): Veronica Kedar
Stars: Veronica Kedar, Mira Awad, Tommy Baremboem, Eli Danker
Release: October 8th on DVD, as well as Digital (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google)
Studio/ Production Co: Indiepix FIlms
Language: Hebrew with English Subtitles
Length: 104 min
Sub-Genre: Horror, Thriller, Psychological thriller