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'Open House' DVD Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

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'Open House' DVD.
© Lionsgate

The Bottom Line

An interesting but flawed story held together by a strong cast.
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Pros

  • Intriguing setup
  • Good cast

Cons

  • Story is underdeveloped
  • Doesn't make much sense

Description

  • Starring Tricia Helfer, Rachel Blanchard, Brian Geraghty, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Gabriel Olds, Jessica Collins
  • Directed by Andrew Paquin
  • Rated R
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010

Guide Review - 'Open House' DVD Review

In the midst of a divorce from Josh (Stephen Moyer), Alice (Rachel Blanchard) holds an open house to sell her home. Unbeknownst to her, a disturbed young man named David (Brian Geraghty) takes the opportunity to hide in the house, emerging a few hours later to tie her up and stash her in a back room.

But David isn't working alone. He has an even more deranged accomplice named Lila (Tricia Helfer) who does her fair share of killing when people start snooping around the house. In fact, she's so nuts that she actively invites guests over just to kill them.

All the while, David is keeping Alice a secret from the jealous and controlling Lila. If she finds out about his attractive little pet, Lila will surely kill her. Can he keep Alice safe? And can Alice escape not only from Lila, but also from the unstable David?

The setup for Open House is an intriguing one. The concept of a stranger hiding out in someone's house was explored more thoroughly in the (superior) Spanish thriller The Uninvited Guest. By comparison, the structure goes to waste in Open House, which uses it only to set up the kidnapping early on in the film.

The rest of the story is similarly filled with wasted promise. The two villains have an interesting relationship, but there's never a satisfactory explanation as to what makes them tick. The plot isn't flushed out enough, leaving viewers scratching their heads. Why would the killers risk exposure by inviting people over just to murder them? Wouldn't they want to live for as long as possible in their new pad? There could've been some insightful commentary on Los Angeles superficiality or the collapse of the housing market, but instead the plot just hacks and slashes with mindless abandon.

That said, the cast carries the uneven writing, particularly Helfer as the seductive sociopath Lila. The ensemble is filled with familiar faces and veteran talent, from Blanchard (Snakes on a Plane) to Geraghty (When a Stranger Calls) to True Blood's Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, who dominate the DVD cover art although the real-life couple appears in the film for only a few minutes.

The True Blood pair appear because Open House is written and directed by Paquin's older brother Andrew, but this isn't a charity case. Directorially, Andrew Paquin holds his own in this his debut, maintaining the tension without imposing a style that detracts from the material -- as underdeveloped as it is. I will give his writer side credit for not allowing the proceedings to develop into protracted "torture porn," a la another home invasion film, The Collector.

The DVD

Special features include commentary and deleted scenes.

Movie: C
DVD: C+

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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