After watching plenty of terrible horror movies in my life, I start to wonder if this is easiest thing in Hollywood to produce. Work with a small budget, come up with a scare and hire some shapely actors to play the ones in peril. Oh, and make sure you have plenty of fake blood. Our example today is Open House, a recent horror movie directed by Andrew Paquin.
We open to a couple being shown a house by Carl (played by Gabriel Olds). During the showing, a stranger comes into the house and then hides in the basement. When Carl leaves, he has a strange feeling that somebody is there. However after looking in the basement and garage, he doesn’t find anything. EXCEPT DEATH. Okay, not really just we know what’s coming. We are soon introduced to Alice (played by Rachel Blanchard) who owns the house.
Alice goes through her daily motions and we are soon introduced to Josh (played by Stephen Moyer), her husband via vhs tape as Alice tries to remember the times of a good marriage gone bad. Later on, her best friend Jennie (played by Anna Paquin) and Alice share a conversation. Alice dozes off and awakens still on the couch. She walks around the house (in the middle of the night) and then proceeds to go into the basement (in the dark) and discovers Jennie dead with her throat slit.
Somebody grabs Alice from behind and then we fade to black. Once the fade comes back in, we see Alice bound and gagged and her captor, David (played by Brian Geraghty) looking on. Shortly after, David lets Lila (played by Tricia Helfer) into the house. It is then that they set things up for the horrid bloodletting to come.
The first victim is Josh who appears in the flesh to grab his golf clubs and fix the timer on the hot tub. This is where he meets Lila who is posing as a housesitter sets up her next victim. There the two get a little bit too close to each other before David comes out of the house, hands Lila a knife which in turn she uses to slay Josh. *blood splatter* *body is stuffed into cooler in garage* *hot tub is going to need some extra cleaning* *eat dinner and watch Bugs Bunny*
Anyhow, during the day Lila typically goes out to meet people in hopes of luring them back to the open house and then ending their lives. While this is going on, David carefully takes out Alice each day and talks to her, giving her food and drink. He doesn’t want to kill Alice but if Lila finds out that Alice is still alive, she will kill her on her own terms. David and Alice even have plans to get out together, thus ending the reign of terror. But death comes naturally to Lila and David. Alice might never get out alive.
Anybody familiar with that feeling you get within twenty minutes of the movie starting that this isn’t going to work. I had this feeling within ten. It was a mindless gore and splatter fest and the actors for the most part didn’t do anything for me. Brian Geraghty is the lone exception as he does more with his body movement and mere twenty lines of dialogue than the grand total of lines by the rest of the actors in this film.
We don’t really learn motivations, we are just given a loose story and expected to go with it. Furthermore, we are treated a long list of horror movie clichés. It’s a marvel people even build basements anymore as many scary movies out there are trying to exploit it. Remind me to add “Never Have an Open House”. Or else Tricia Helfer might try to seduce me and that might suck. Actually, being stuffed in a cooler would suck the worst of all. Coolers are not proper refrigeration units and I might spoil.
The video is in 2.35:1 widescreen presentation. One of the things you come to expect from any horror film is that the movie is going to have a lot of scenes in the dark. It is then most unfortunate that you can barely make out people in the dark, nevermind actual important details. I’m not sure if this was done because they thought it would help the mood or to hide camera flaws. Either way, the color is okay at best and suffers greatly when looking for anything memorable besides Tricia Helfer’s assets.
For this film we get a 5.1 English Dolby Digital Track. Surprisingly, the audio fares a lot better than the video. The dialog is fairly strong and there are plenty of horrifying events that make good use of the surrounds. It’s not an amazing track by any stretch, but I wouldn’t call the audio presentation as inferior. Subtitles are included for English SDH and Spanish.
- Automatic Trailers: Kick Ass, Beatdown, Neighbor, Circle of Pain, Caught in the Crossfire, Small Town Saturday Night and Epix
- Commentary with Director Andrew Paquin and Actor Brian Geraghty : Typical commentary. Andrew talks a lot about how he shot the movie and what went into it. Brian adds about as much dialogue as he did during the movie, only inserting a few lines here and there. Quite a bit of dead space. It’s pretty boring but if you like the film, you’ll find some choice information.
- Deleted Scenes 9:47: There are three long scenes and basically include a whole lot more of Alice. Honestly, it would have probably helped the movie which was already running short. It also provided a couple of key tense moments that could have strengthened the thriller elements.
- Open House Trailer 2:07: The original trailer. They like giving away the kill parts in the trailer, so should probably avoid if you haven’t seen it already.
Open House doesn’t advance the horror genre. In fact, it might put it back a few decades. It’s gruesome, messy and bound to be boycotted by people who like wood floors. The only positive to the movie is the performance of Brian Geraghty who does so much with so little. The dvd disc isn’t anything special either with below average video, okay sound and a few extras. I can’t recommend this movie unless just need a blood fix. Even then, I would think donating to your local American Red Cross would be a more suitable venture.