Family and friends are gathering at Bradley’s ranch to celebrate Thanksgiving, unfortunately an escaped mental patient that's high on PCP finds his way to the party. What should be a day of celebrating and giving thanks becomes one of horror and regret, as the madman picks off the partygoers one by one.
Even though people consider the 1980's the heyday of horror movies, especially for the slasher subgenre, there are still numerous titles that have become lost to the sands of time for various reasons: didn't receive proper distribution, wasn't too popular, too obscure, or it was so bad that it was swept under the rug and forgotten about. "Home Sweet Home" is one of those "lost" titles, and just like with any obscure movie, it's pretty much a roll of the dice as to what kind of movie it will be.
I did wonder why the movie had become forgotten about, considering the plot of the movie is about a mental patient that's doped up on PCP terrorizing a family at an isolated ranch on Thanksgiving. Whenever holiday theme horror movies are brought up, people always mention the lack of the Thanksgiving holiday being used. Plus, the whole aspect of a drugged out madman always makes for a good trash viewing. Unfortunately though, before the credits even begin to roll "Home Sweet Home" makes it apparent as to what type of movie it will be by opening with a laughable but equally annoying death scene of "The Killer" strangling some random civilian. Which I guess we should appreciate since it gives us, the audience, an advanced warning about the quality the movie has to offer and whether or not we should proceed. I made the mistake of continuing on.
The one thing I couldn't figure out while watching the movie, and still am unsure about now, after I've finished the movie, is whether or not it was intended to be a straight horror movie or a horror-comedy. Considering how goofy and ridiculous the opening scene was, I immediately thought it was intended to be a horror-comedy and when the movie introduces the characters that didn't really help its cause either. Well first off, the movie never really establishes how the characters are related. There are the obvious girlfriends, but there are several characters that never show any family connection or a friendship for that matter. In fact, looking at how they interacted with one another really makes you wonder why they're having Thanksgiving dinner together since they often acted as if they didn't even like each other. Could have been going for a dysfunctional family angle, but even if that was the case it still was not established very well, or at all. Back to the original point I was trying to make about the comedy aspect. One of the characters we are introduced to is a young man named Mistake; and that's not a nickname. He spends the entire movie running around in KISS style makeup, and annoying the members of the household to the point they chase him throughout the house while trying to beat him with some sort of object. Interject the various characters interacting with each other, with bits and pieces of bad jokes and bad humor, and this is basically the first half of the movie. No horror, just lots of forced humor that fails and the establishment of characters that quite frankly you want to see get killed just so you don't have watch or listen to them anymore.
When the unknown and unnamed killer starts picking off members of the family one-by-one, it seems like the movie was still trying to go for comedy rather than horror. The first person to be killed is Bradley, the father-esque figure and person throwing the celebration. He is trying to remove the battery from an abandoned car, when the killer comes flying from off screen and jumps on the hood, and apparently crushing poor Bradley to death. The next scene involves him picking up a woman and putting her on his shoulders, spinning her around, and then throwing her to where she lands headfirst on a rock (now I wasn't sure if I was even watching a horror movie anymore since it was starting to look like a pro-wrestling match.) Not sure who's decision it was, but the people behind the camera want us to remember that this guy is crazy and high on PCP, so all the while he's killing these people, he's laughing hysterically. I guess they figured that wouldn't be annoying at all. For some strange reason though, after these two death scenes, it seems that movie now wants to become a straight horror flick. The death scenes become serious, and it wants the setup to seem actually frightening. It's just too little too late though. The damage was done from the awful humor from the first half of the movie, so it makes it really hard to take the second half seriously.
In the end, it's obvious "Home Sweet Home" became one of those forgotten slashers from the 80's because of how bad it is. For one thing, both the comedy element and the horror element completely failed, and in general the movie is a complete mess. It sold the story as being about a family that's terrorized on Thanksgiving. With the exception of having a big turkey on the dinning room table, you wouldn't think that it was holiday or even a special event. There is no connection between the characters, and quite frankly when watching the movie you could really care less who lived and who died. Since this is an 80's slasher flick, the majority of the things that go on in the movie is rehashed material from other slashers and various other horror movies. You could watch this movie for its cheese factor, or for a night of riffing bad movies, but there are much better ones out there to choose from.