Open House (Blu-ray)
It should be noted that Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are also in this failed slasher flick. Why would I not post that in the “stars” section when they are clearly on the cover with top billings? Well it is very clear that the two talented True Blood stars were doing Ms. Paquin’s older brother, director Andrew Paquin, a big favor by staring in this poorly constructed straight to Blu-ray release. They probably have a whopping two-minutes of screen time apiece.
A recently divorced Alice (Rachel Blanchard) is trying to sell her spacious two-story home. When a psychotic couple, David (Brian Geraghty) and Lila (Tricia Helfer) take over the house pretending that it is their own. When people come over, whom they usually invite, they kill them. Meanwhile, David has kept Alice alive, bound and hidden in a cubby space (which appears to have a window that was never utilized for an escape). He has kept her a secret from Lila and uses Alice as a sense of normality during the day while his sociopath of a worse half is away. Will she be able to escape?
I would have loved to reedit and shoot scenes in this film. I’m not claiming to know what I’m doing, but there are some basic things to up the intensity. First, they should have opened the film with a surprise kill during an open house. It could have been done without showing David, keeping the suspense heightened. As it stands, Alice discovers a dead body and then is quickly grabbed from behind. Then we see David and Lila. The story becomes about them playing house right away. This reveal should have been slow. Lets get attached to our hero by spending more time with her feeling the looming danger then drop us onto the villains. Unfortunately, her danger happens immediately then we jump right into the psychos that we obviously don’t care about who lose all scare appeal. With the exception of a couple of kills the murder scenes felt a little anticlimactic but again that goes back to the filmmakers revealing their hand too quickly.
On some positive notes, the score is done well by composer Nathan Barr who is also from the acclaimed vampire series True Blood. Andrew Paquin really cashed in a lot of favors through his little sister. Visually, the shots were well lit with some sharp composition. Technically the film was very sound. The acting was solid all around too, specifically from Rachel Blanchard and Brian Geraphty who really is the main star as a terribly disturbed human being trying to be normal.
Ultimately, OPEN HOUSE lacked anything remotely close to intensity or suspense and had many questionable moments of reasoning. It’s a shame, because with a few pick up shots, a restructure and a completely different edit, the film would have improved immensely from bad to less bad. Instead we are left with a bloody, uninvolved borefest.
Video: (1080P High Definition 16 x 9 Widescreen 2.35:1) Picture was crisp and clear.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD) Sound was decent using quietness with explosive sound mixing devices like washing dishes or stabbing.
Commentary with Actor Brian Geraghty and Director Andrew Paquin: They give a semi-interesting commentary consistently talking about the film. However, Paquin thinks too highly of it and is proud of his wrong choices. He claims the film is more relationship driven than suspense. I agree that there is zero suspense but the relationship drama is poorly conceived when you don’t care about or find the relationships interesting.
Deleted Scenes (9:45): Three deleted scenes that I think add more intensity. I had two jump moments. These scenes are exactly what I described earlier as being sorely needed. This wouldn’t have been near enough but they are better.
Trailer and Previews: Yes! This trailer is proof that there is a scary movie somewhere in here. The trailer actually makes OPEN HOUSE look like an interesting movie and is far better than the actual film. The film should have taken notes from the trailer and told their story in the same order the trailer tells it.