HomeBound – written, directed and produced by Usher Morgan – is a claustrophobic look at the challenges of Agoraphobia. When Jamie (Katie Vincent) loses her therapy dog, she must find the courage to venture outside and face her deepest fears – and along the way find a piece of herself.
To most of us going outside is a natural action, something we do daily without thought. However, for some it’s impossible, and even painful. Jamie is one of these individuals, trapped inside her apartment with a crippling fear.
We first find Jamie strewn out on her apartment floor, listening to music while staring blankly at the ceiling. It’s clear from her face that she’s upset, makeup from fresh tears still visible on her cheeks. As she turns her head to look at her dog, a wide smile beams across her face, although the pain beneath still remains. Soon that smile disintegrates and the image of the dog fades away, leaving Jamie alone in her apartment. Jamie’s therapy dog “Bailey” is missing and as Jamie calls the police to report it, we learn that not much can be done. Jamie must take responsibility for finding him.
With the use of flashbacks we are introduced to Jamie’s therapist, Dr. Ackerman played by Sebastian Arcelus, who first gave her the idea of getting a support dog. Through his sessions, it’s clear that Bailey is having a positive impact on her daily life – making his loss that more impactful. Apprehensive and deadly afraid, Jamie makes her mind up that she must go outside and put up missing posters to find her beloved Bailey. Using all her courage as she walks towards the door, can she find the courage to open the door and face the outside world?
Fear of the outside is something that most can’t even comprehend. However, Agoraphobia is not a rational fear. Being a mental condition and not a physical condition means it’s hard to treat, and the use of tools such as therapy dogs, are lifelines to many. The loss of such a companion and friend is even more impactful when they have changed your life for the better, often causing undoing to all the positive changes.
Vincent’s portrayal of this fear, anxiety and hopelessness is wonderfully moving. The ability to maintain an undercurrent of anxiety, while experiencing a range of emotions, really gives you a sense of the challenges faced by those who suffer with Agoraphobia. With wonderful cinematography by both Louis Obioha and Usher Morgan, the imagery is used to underline the emotional turmoil of Jamie’s experience, making HomeBound a wonderful case study of a fear most know little about.