The Hamiltons (2006)

This is a difficult one for me. A lot of people really seem to like The Hamiltons. Personally, I think it is seriously overrated.


Meet the Hamiltons, an unhappy family. Recently orphaned, the family is headed by the oldest brother, who tries to earn enough money while at the same time trying to keep the family together and keeping up the appearances of a normal happy family life. Which is all the more difficult as one family member seems as dysfunctional as the next.


The idea is probably not new (few ideas ever are), but still interesting: tell a modern horror story from the inside out, from a different perspective. So far so good – the problem: there is no story in this film. Absolutely nowhere to be found. It is just an assembly of scenes that are supposed to highlight the different personalities of the family members. But you do not need 80 minutes for that, 8 would have sufficed.


I think the supposed main plot is one character’s crisis of identity, and his “growing up” and seeing this crisis through. But it just does not work. You never for a minute connect with the film or with any of these characters. The reason for this may be the erratic and arbitrary way in which the narrative is told. Or maybe it is just the acting, which really is phenomenally bad. It almost feels like they picked some amateurs from the street and handed them a script.


I really do not know what to make of this film. It has too much gore for my taste, but there is little else to talk about, as there is little plot. If you take the bare bones of the underlying idea and approach it in the way the film-makers did, you might have a very good basis for an intriguing and atmospheric 15- or 20-minute short film; but you cannot built a feature length film on this foundation.

Really, I cannot say anything positive about The Hamiltons except that as far as camera, lighting, sets, and sound are concerned it seems competently made.

I do not see how I can rate this film anywhere above 2 out of 10, and find the current imdb rating of 5.2 ludicrous and quite frankly misleading.


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