Open House (2010) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Open House (2010) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on July 10th, 2021 | Movie Review | Slasher, Home Invasion, Survival, Serial Killer, Confined, Dysfunctional Family

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It’s a home invasion slasher with a captor-captive plot.

Open House was written and directed by Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Andrew Paquin (producer of New in Town and  Blue State) and stars his younger sister, fellow Winnipeg-ian Anna Paquin (who won an Academy Award at age 11 (for her role in The Piano)), Stephen Moyer, her husband (who is best known from True Blood), Brian Geraghty (ATM), Rachel Blanchard (Dark Hearts), and Tricia Helfer (Cylon Number Six from the Battlestar Galactica reboot).

The unsettling L.A. housing market as a limp subtext for a lame gorefest?!

Open House Review

Here is the set-up: Alice and Josh decide to get a divorce and sell their home. Utilizing the gap in security created by a realtor’s open house event, an attractive pair of incestuous-sibling-psychopathic-serial-killers move in, dispatch Josh, and drug/restrain Alice. The brother-psychopath, David, develops a crush on his captive. To outwit her kidnappers and forge her escape, Alice will have to act as if she is in love with David.

But in this film – No One Can Act.

That would have been a memorable tagline, but instead they went with – Welcome to the Neighborhood.

That might have worked too, but for the total vacancy of the film. The setting isn’t even a neighborhood, for goodness’ sake; it’s mostly just the basement of a house. This is a film which is as depraved and compass-less as it is uninteresting. It’s empty and senseless. It’s dull.

If it any little less coherent, it might achieve the kind of Dadaesque wonder that emanates from spectacularly bad films. If it were slightly cheesier, it could conceivably land an unintentional punchline now and then. It fails to hit any mark, however. Director Andrew Paquin is no Tommy Wiseau. Even Paquin’s clichés are cliché, somehow.

The scene in which the incest between the two killers is revealed by means of a children’s book plot nearly achieves a radiant stupidity. But not quite. The bits where the psychopathic siblings prance about upstairs in a mock-domesticity-fest nearly scores an over-the-top point or two. Otherwise, the scoreboard is all goose eggs and errors. These near-misses are the best that can be said of the film.

The single location setting ought to feel oppressive. It just feels conveniently low budget. Reportedly, the director used his own house for the set. So, there you go.

In fairness, Stockholm syndrome bonds between a kidnapper and his prey can be very tricky to narrate. They tend toward exploitive trash. The made-for-television Sweet Hostage starring Linda Blair and a young Martin Sheen is far from a masterpiece. Still, it sympathetically rendered an escaped asylum inmate and his victim in a doomed affair. It contains an imminently more watchable captor story than Open House, if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing.

Worth Watching?

Perhaps. If you want confirmation that despite having neither talent nor inspiration, you might move to Hollywood, write your own script, find someone to finance it, film it in your basement, and actually see it screened at Tribeca, then you could not find a finer film than Open House.

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