Family (2006)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
Genres: Horror, Horror Comedy
Harold is a seemingly peaceful neighbor in a quiet midwestern neighborhood, but underneath, he's a murderous psychopath who sets his eyes on a couple that have moved in across the street. --IMDb
John Landis John Landis
George Wendt George Wendt
Meredith Monroe Meredith Monroe
Matt Keeslar Matt Keeslar
Haley Guiel Haley Guiel
Kerry Sandomirsky Kerry Sandomirsky
Movie Connections:
Masters Of Horror: Season 2
> The Damned Thing (2006)
> Family (2006)
> The V Word (2006)
> Pro-Life (2006)
> Sounds Like (2006)
> Pelts (2006)
> The Screwfly Solution (2006)
> Valerie On The Stairs (2006)
> Right To Die (2007)
> We All Scream For Ice Cream (2007)
> The Black Cat (2007)
> The Washingtonians (2007)
> Dream Cruise (2007)

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 25, 2007
Boy, has it been a while since John Landis has given us anything worth a damn. He went from being probably the biggest director in the early 1980's to absolutely nothing by the end of the decade, thanks in large part to the 1983 on set accident that took the life of actor Vic Morrow and two small children. Spielberg severed his ties with John Landis after the accident and his career started taking slide after slide after slide. It's not an exaggeration to say that the last good film he made was released in 1989. Since, Landis has given us everything from the wretched sequel, "Beverly Hills Cop III" to the utterly insane "The Stupids", to the vampire flick "Innocent Blood". Most have just assumed that he has faded away into the realm of horror directors that were, but are no more.

Thank God for the "Masters of Horror" series because this is the perfect place for John Landis to showcase what made him so great to begin with -- his talent for crafting horror films. In his heart, Landis is a horror director -- he has always been one and he always will be one. He knows comedy too, but horror is where he shines. "Family" is his latest entry into the "Masters of Horror" series, and it is probably one of the finest entries the series has yet to see. It is classic Landis, blending horrific gore with seamless comedy -- all in one glossy package. By the end of this episode, I was upset that I couldn't watch more. "Family" could have easily been turned into a feature, and I certainly would have been excited to see that happen. However, 58 minutes is all we're going to get from it.

Everybody's favorite everyman, George Wendt, stars in "Family" as Harold Thompson, who lives in a perfect little house on a perfect little street in Wisconsin with his wife, daughter and parents. The only problem -- they're not his real family. They are actually just skeletons, stripped of their flesh and dressed up to serve his terrifying and somewhat comical imagination. You see -- Harold wants to make the perfect family. Any time he needs a new member to the unit, he goes out, kills someone, pours acid over them, washes their bones, and then dresses up their skeletons to resemble whatever family member he is seeking. Nice, huh? But, on the surface, he seems to be the painfully typical neighbor -- especially to Celia (Meredith Monroe) and David (Matt Keeslar), a couple from California who move with the hopes of starting a family and a new life in Wisconsin.

The young couple almost immediately runs into Harold and think he's just the sweetest man. After running over his mailbox one night and leaving a note on his door, the couple is shocked the next morning to find that the box has already been repaired and Harold has no hard feelings about the incident. By this time, however, Harold has already started thinking of places for Celia in his extended family. When David eventually goes missing, we're left to wonder whether Harold was responsible, or whether something else might be afoot. There is also a twisted scene where Harold drives to the local high school to look for a little sister for his daughter, where each girl he sees pleads their case to him in a bizarre, schizophrenic way.

First off, this is a very humorous film. George Wendt is perfectly cast as Harold, playing both the comedy and the horror equally well. Wendt is known for playing jovial, light-hearted characters and Harold is definitely that, but he also gets angry very quickly and turns on a dime. Landis finds a nice balance between the horror and the comedy, much like he did in "An American Werewolf In London". When Wendt goes searching for a little sister for his daughter, it should be terrifying, but Landis crafts the story in a way that can't keep us from a little laugh or two, as one daughter says, "I do a lot of drugs and fuck anything that moves". Of course, we know Harold won't choose her because she would not be appropriate for his perfect family.

This is John Landis' best film in years and one of my favorite episodes of the "Masters of Horror" series. It is just non-stop entertainment and it has a nice level of both gore and comedy. It reminded me a lot of "May", the Lucky McKee film from a few years ago; and it had strokes of "Re-Animator". But, "Family" has just enough originality and John Landis creativity to keep it from being any kind of rip-off. 9/10.
Chad #1: Chad - added 04/28/2007, 01:16 AM
Excellent movie. When Celia discusses how much she'd like to "suck his big, thick dick" at the dinner table, I was nearly in tears. Loved it.
Optimus Prime #2: Optimus Prime - added 10/27/2009, 11:38 PM
My favorite of the movies I've seen... 9/10.
Optimus Prime #3: Optimus Prime - added 10/27/2009, 11:39 PM
The Master of Horror movies that is.
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