DVD Review: Open House (2010)
Open House (2010)
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010
Director: Andrew Paquin
Cast: Brian Geraghty, Tricia Helfer, Rachael Blanchard, Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin
Review by: Marc Patterson
Open House is a serial killer film that puts its stakes down more in the camp of thriller than horror, though for those who might quickly dismiss this as another low budget direct to DVD piece of trash, you might want to give it a second glance.
David and Lila (Geraghty and Helfer respectively) are a psychopathic couple with a penchant for murder. When they find a married couple who is going through a divorce they find an opportunity they can’t pass up. The couple is trying to unload their home and during an open house David mingles in amongst the prospective buyers. Once inside he slinks off to the basement and waits for everyone to leave and lock up. It’s a rather slick move that allows him to begin a slow and methodical take down of Alice (Blanchard) and her friend Jennie (Paquin). Once he dispatches Jennie and stashes Alice away, Lila joins him and together they maim, torture, and kill anyone unlucky enough to stop by the home.
Having Anna Paquin and Bill Moyer front and center on the cover of the DVD case is obviously going to help make some sales. As any jaded horror fan will figure out though, they aren’t really the main attraction, but rather simple sideshow plot devices placed into the film thanks to a convenient blood relation to the director (Andrew and Anna are brother and sister). What the film does seem to focus on is a tension-drawn story surrounding the tempestuous relationship between David and Lila.
Lila is a cold, merciless, and hard-hearted killer who doesn’t hesitate. She’s a bit more openly psychotic, using her sultry body to lure male victims to their death. She treats David like her personal dog, and like a good dog he seems to understand that he has a place and a role to play in everything that they do. David exhibits a more timid and quiet persona. Clean cut, a bit stiff, almost a bit of a Norman Bates type, he’s an unassuming killer, but incredibly dangerous, especially when brought to anger. And boy does he run on a short fuse, displaying no compassion or remorse for quickly executing his victims. Alice, though tortured and tormented, locked down in a dark basement, senses an underlying resentment within David and makes a move to gain his sympathy in hopes of turning him against Lila. This triangle of power and egos carries the film towards the final act of the film, which is quite the shocker.
Technically speaking, Open House is quite solid. The cinematography really shines in this film and was one of the few things that stood out. You’ll see a lot of stark white color palettes, which compares well to Funny Games or even American Psycho. There’s a real purity to the setting that makes this a pleasure to watch. The home is a very neat and clean traditional-styled house with little clutter, and David always sports a freshly pressed white dress shirt, or white t-shirt. This dominance of clean sleek lines and white contrasted against the sadism and violence on display makes the blood spatter seem that much more powerful. Again, here the film finds a way to shine above and beyond that of the standard direct to video offerings we have to put up with in the horror genre.
Open House is a slow, but well paced, and occasionally bloody affair (surprisingly moreso than I thought it might be). For those who don’t mind a slow boiling suspense-driven thriller with a dash of blood spatter to keep it interesting should check this out.