Home Invasion – Fantasia 2023

Home Invasion
This essay film has a couple interesting chapters, but becomes quite grating by the end

Home Invasion – Fantasia 2023

Runtime: 01:30
A nightmarish essay film on the history of the doorbell, tracing its invention and constant reinventions through 19th century labor struggles, the nascent years of narrative cinema, and contemporary surveillance cultures.

The history of the doorbell and its ties to home surveillance are explored in . Graeme Arnfield presents a cinematic essay on the evolution of the doorbell from its inception to the development of the Ring door-bot in more recent years. The film also makes some deviations talking about how D.W. Griffith paved the way for modern home invasion cinema with the invention of parallel editing, as well as a history of Luddite labour struggles in the 19th century.

Home Invasion Synopsis

Home Invasion is a highly experimental essay film “made in bed during the pandemic.” The film is structured into five chapters, each of which are narrated through large blocks of text in the middle of a centre partition shaped like a peephole. The subjects include Marie Van Brittan Brown, who invented the first home security system in the 1960s, Jamie Siminoff, who invented the Doorbot, which was later renamed Ring and acquired by Amazon, the history of home invasion cinema with clips of films such as Scream, The Strangers, and You're Next, the Luddite labour struggles in the 19th century, and the original invention of the doorbell itself.

My Thoughts on Home Invasion

Home Invasion is an essay film that is supposed to evoke the horrors of surveillance. Indeed this is true for the second chapter of the film, which shows a multitude of clips captured by Ring doorbells, some of which are funny, others are horrifying. However, by the time Home Invasion begins talking about the Luddite labour studies, the film starts to become grating with its pulsating score, repetitive text narration, and an image in an tiny circle in the middle of the screen. Ultimately, Home Invasion makes for a better museum installation than cinematic documentary.

Trailer for Home Invasion – Fantasia 2023

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.