Quebec premiere
Selection 2021 On Demand

Coming Home In The Dark

Directed by James Ashcroft

Virtual Screening


Official selection

Sundance Film Festival 2021
Cleveland International Film Festival 2021
Calgary Underground Film Festival 2021
Milwaukee Film Festival 2021


James Ashcroft


Jam Ashcroft, Eli Kent


Daniel Gillies, Matthias Lusafutu, Miriama McDowell, Erik Thomson


Dark Sky Films

New Zealand 2021 93 mins OV English
Genre Thriller

“It’s my hope that audiences will be divided over the film’s characters; they’re characters that we haven’t seen in an NZ film before and they ask viewers to reflect on themselves. We need to understand our own brutality if we’re to make any notion of change to society.”
Director James Ashcroft

“Working with strong actors capable of walking the knife edge between fear and moral revulsion, sadism and barely stifled rage, Ashcroft and editor Annie Collins maximize the psychological murk hidden between the lines, doing a remarkable job of sustaining extreme tension. “

"A one and a half-hour gut-punch, COMING HOME IN THE DARK is bleak, tense, and often unshakable. … it sticks with you; haunts you."
Chris Evangelista, /FILM

“When you look back, this will be the moment you’ll wish you’d done something.” A high school teacher (Erik Thomson) and his family’s plans for a weekend picnic at an isolated coastline take a fateful turn when a pair of sociopathic drifters descend upon them. What follows is 90 minutes of unbearably sustained tension and caustic bursts of violence that will have your heart in your throat. As sweat pools on cooling skin, it becomes clear that the ferocity they’re facing has direct threads to actions from decades ago. With tears and blood, a creed is being written. Screams of the voiceless will echo through the night.

As thought-provoking as it is devastating, COMING HOME IN THE DARK is a blisteringly tense road movie into hell that plays like a home-invasion thriller set largely in a moving car. Based on the 1995 short story by award-winning New Zealand author Owen Marshall, described by David Hill as “one of the most harrowing narratives in our literature”, it’s an extraordinary neo-Noir that addresses the horrific failings of NZ’s state-run institutions through a prism of genre with an impact that will tear your guts out. With this masterful feature debut, director/co-writer James Ashcroft pulls off multiple miracles in tightly controlled mise-en-scene and an ability to build grounded characters in tandem with bottomless reservoirs of suspense. Evocative of Mario Bava’s RABID DOGS, centered around a singularly unsettling performance from Daniel Gillies (THE ORIGINALS), COMING HOME IN THE DARK is an anguished journey into horrors most human. Told with compassion – and without mercy. – Mitch Davis