Open House (2010)

  • Year: 2010
  • Released: 24 Apr 2010
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: 2 nominations
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror
  • Runtime: 88 min
  • Writer: Andrew Paquin
  • Director: Andrew Paquin
  • Cast: Brian Geraghty, Rachel Blanchard, Anna Paquin
  • Keywords:

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Open House Movie Reviews

A good-looking little thriller with some solid performances, but an underwhelming script.

Brian Geraghty (‘The Hurt Locker’) and Tricia Helfer (‘Battlestar Galactica’) star as a couple looking for their perfect home. Unlike the rest of us, they don’t use real estate agents or the classifieds. Instead, they find the home they want and murder anyone in their path to getting it. This time around, the unlucky homeowner is Alice (Rachel Blanchard of ‘Snakes on a Plane’). Things get complicated (well, more complicated than things usually are for a pair of roaming serial killers) when David (Geraghty) decides to spare the life of Alice, unbeknownst to his partner in crime & love, Lila (Helfer). As Lila spins further & further down the drain of insanity, David begins to regret his decisions and considers making a life change, hopefully with the companionship of his newfound obsession Alice. ‘True Blood’ stars Anna Paquin (whose brother Andrew wrote/directed) and Stephen Moyer also co-star in small roles.

Marketing in the film industry is a fickle friend. It can make a film and it can destroy it. Look, for example, at a film like ‘Cloverfield’ from a few years ago. What may have been just a small passing at the box office turned into a worldwide phenomenon, mostly thanks to some phenomenal viral marketing that truly sparked the interest the film needed. With ‘Open House,’ however, it seems as if marketing is going to very much hurt the film. Why? Because they’re setting the film up in a way that will only disappoint a great load of people. Those people are fans of the hit HBO series ‘True Blood.’ Looking at the cover art for ‘Open House,’ we are shown the main stars of ‘True Blood’ Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer right up in the foreground with their names smack dab on the top for all to see. The problem with this, however, is both actors combined probably have under ten minutes of total screen time. While I wasn’t bothered much by this since I didn’t see the cover art prior to the film, I can see why many fans of the show will be annoyed when the two main reasons they sought out the film are gone before they even get the chance to fully settle into their sofa.

Moving past what is sure to be a disappointing part of the film, there are several elements that I quite enjoyed about this little thriller. The most alluring factor of ‘Open House’ and one that was truly impressive would be the performances. I was impressed by just about every actor’s work throughout the film, especially that of Rachel Blanchard and Brian Geraghty, who after ‘The Hurt Locker’ deserves to be doing bigger & better films than this. Another strong technical aspect of this film was the cinematography. Joseph White, who made his mark with his photography on ‘Repo! The Genetic Opera,’ did very well simultaneously capturing the beautiful architecture of the house along with the gloom of the basement ‘prison.’

One more talent associated with this film is the director, Andrew Paquin. I didn’t cite his role as the writer with that compliment because I believe that is where he and the film failed most. As a director, he did a very fine job, especially for his rookie outing. The script, however, is what needed work. While the dialogue and plot were satisfactory enough, the real problem came from the constant wasted chances at real suspense. Rookie directors often run into problems when they direct their own work because they sometimes can’t see the problems that another director or co-writer would see during pre-production or filming. A writer may read through his own script ten times, know it word for word, but not see a small flaw that a person may catch on their first run through. That is why another creative mind working on the script is almost always useful, especially in small productions like this.

Overall, ‘Open House’ is not going to go on as one of the great thrillers of our time. It will, like many straight-to-video films before it, most likely be forgotten by this time next year. However, for a one-night stand with an entertaining rental, you can do a lot worse than Andrew Paquin’s first attempt. I’d like to see more in his future.

Final Verdict: 6/10.


Predictable Slasher

After an amicable divorce, Alice (Rachel Blanchard) and Josh (Stephen Moyer) are selling their house, using the service of their friend, the real estate agent Carl (Gabriel Olds) that brings a couple apparently interested in the house. Alice welcomes her friend Jennie (Anna Paquin) that spends the night at home with her. When Alice wakes up, she seeks out Jennie and she finds her murdered in the basement. Alice is subdue and held captive in the basement by the psychopath David (Brian Geraghty) that has moved to her house with his insane sister Lila (Tricia Helfer). Sooner Alice discovers that Lila is more dangerous for her than David, who has a disturbed crush on her. Further, the deranged criminals are killing her friends and acquaintances. Alice also leans that she must act as if she was in love with David to survive.

“Open House” is a predictable slasher with the story of a couple of psychopaths that visits houses for sale with the intention of killing the owners and spend a couple of days in the real estate, by the older brother of Anna Paquin, Andrew Paquin, in his debut and only film. The cameos of his sister and Stephen Moyer to promote this movie, inclusive with their pictures highlighted on the DVD cover, are disappointing and lure the viewer that expects to see the couple acting. Brian Geraghty performs a typical deranged psychopath with no surprises and the story gives the sensation of déjà vu, with the usual clichés of the genre and the classic open conclusion with Lila visiting another house. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): “Cativeiro” (“Captive”)

What True Blood hath wrought

Nepotism is not exactly an unknown occurrence in show business. There’s a legion of folks who’ve gotten the chance to act, write, sing or direct because they happen to be related to someone who, at that moment, is something of a star. Well, out of that number there aren’t many who made a more pitiful effort at it than Andrew Paquin. Open House is a psychological thriller that has all the tension of a wet noodle in a driving rain and is as psychologically complex as a 3 month old puppy. This is the product of someone imitating other films that he’s seen but not understood.

Before I get into the incompetent guts of this movie, let me point out that Tricia Helfer is a great example here of being two steps on the wrong side of the line that separates slim from “really needs to eat a baked potato”. I mean, if you’re shooting an actress from the front and you can clearly see the outline of sternum in her décolletage, she’s too skinny. If you’re shooting her from the back and you can clearly make out both the top and bottom of her shoulder blades as they move around, she’s too skinny. When an actress has to do a scene in a bikini, as Helfer does here, does no one check her out a week in advance to make sure she doesn’t look like someone who’s recovering from a severe illness? I know body image is a horrible albatross around the neck of women in visual media, but somebody needed to step in here and force Paquin to delay the bikini scene for a few days so Helfer could go have a few good meals. She’s an attractive woman and seeing her like this both makes you feel bad for her and angry at the industry that makes her look that way.

Open House starts out as the story of Alice (Rachel Blanchard), a woman who’s either soon-to-be, in-the-middle-of-getting or just-got divorced. That the film neither seems to know nor care which state of marital severance Alice is in sort of says it all for the care and craft being put to work here. Alice is trying to sell the home she used to share with her now/recently/soon to be ex-husband (Stephen Moyer) when a killer shows up and takes her prisoner. While Alice is stuffed into a basement crawl space, the killer (Brian Geraghty) and a sexy but too thin blonde (Tricia Helfer) start living in Alice’s home and murdering people for kicks. The blonde doesn’t know that Alice is still alive and Open house pretty quickly becomes all about how the killer is caught between these two women.

I suppose the acting here is fine and the direction looks okay, though it’s obvious that Paquin is just mimicking stuff from other films without knowing why those filmmakers did what they did the way they did it. The dialog is also unmemorable but unobjectionable. The plot and underlying structure of this story, however, is simply atrocious. It’s established early on that the killer does not want to hurt Alice and will go to great lengths to avoid killing her, which sucks any drama or threat out of their relationship. I’d say for at least 60 or 70 of this movie’s 88 minute length, there’s not even a hint that Alice is in any imminent danger.

And since Brian Geraghty as the killer shows all the personality of Star Trek:TNG’s Mr. Data running on one-quarter battery power and none of the three main characters have enough sustained interaction to build or develop any kind of honest drama among them, you’re left with a motion picture about home invading serial murders that’s as exciting as a plain wheat cracker. Writer Paquin thinks he’s being smart by throwing out hints about and allusions to the nature of the bond between the killer and the blonde, but you’d have to be awfully stupid not to figure out right away what he’s getting at and then realize he’s never going to go anywhere with it. Paquin also obviously believes that by making the main character of his movie a largely mute and impassive murderer, he’s doing something clever or provocative. It isn’t either of those things.

This was as boring and pointless a production as I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t be tricked by Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer being involved with it. Open House wasn’t worth their time and it isn’t worth yours