Monday, December 26, 2011

Open House (2010)

The theme of home invasion is it's own little sub-genre inside the thriller genre and it's mostly a successful way to create tension. Just the idea of taking something so close to us, the ultimate safe-house, and make it a place of terror makes the storytellers go a little bit further. There's never fun when our private space is invaded my someone (or something) that doesn't belong there. Funny Games, Inside, Hard Candy, Straw Dogs are four movies that in very different way tells us the story of a home being a house of terror, and one of the latest examples is Andrew Paquin's Open House, starring his sister Anna Paquin in a small part together with her fellow colleague from True Blood, Stephen Moyer. But they are just minor characters in something much bigger.

David (Brian Geraghty) and Lila (Tricia Helfer) are two psychopaths and serial killers taking over a nice house outside Hollywood. They kill the people inside, but David keeps one of the - Alice (Rachel Blanchard) alive in secret, hiding her in a small space inside the wall of the laundry room. Alice is very jealous, but still they aren't living like lovers. She brings more people to the house, David films them with a camcorder and kills them brutally. Alice, who wants to survive, starts manipulating David to make him her friend. But it's not easy when Lila, who controls David completely, always is nearby. Will she, or they both, break free?

It's hard to say that Open House breaks new ground, because it doesn't. What it succeeds in is creating suspense and being a competent thriller with some excellent acting. I like how easy and smooth our "heroes" takes over the house and gets rid of guests and new friends (and the bodies are stashed in the garage, in tiny, tiny pieces). It's cold, brutal and quite bloody - and none of them are moving an eyebrow when blood spurts and people screams. Real psychos. Sometimes the cold American Psycho-style (overrated movie by the way) can be annoying, and Open House almost goes that way, but keeps the humanity by having Alice in the show, a character who reacts maybe more normal when she's in shock than many other similar characters. She understands that to stay alive longer she needs to be friend with David and respects him because she won't take any unnecessary risk. She wants to get out alive.

Open House is a good thriller with some nasty scenes of carnage, but it fails to be really engaging. We've seen it before, we can almost guess how it will and the characters are nothing new. When watching it I found myself thinking why this movie was made? It's not bad at all, really well-made, but how could it attract investors? When I movie can't offer anything new it has to rely on the actors, and I'm 100 % sure that the presence of TV-hotties Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer made the investment-deal come through.

I sound negative, but really, I'm not. Open House is a fine little movie that will deliver what you want to get from it. Just don't expect to be surprised.

Open House has recently been released by Njuta Films in Sweden and is possible to buy everywhere.

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