Open House is a new release from Maple Pictures hitting video stores this week. It’s a three-way love story of sorts that evolves out of a psychological thriller where two of the parties just happen to be codependent psychopaths.
Still hurting after a tough break-up, Alice (Rachel Blanchard) decides to put her house on the market in the hopes of moving on with her life. But the open house event she hosts draws unforeseen interest from a pair of psychopathic house hunters. After concealing himself in her basement, David (Brian Geraghty) emerges in the night, kills Alice’s best friend, and inexplicably keeps Alice alive, hidden away in the crawl space of her own home. Alice listens through the floorboards as David and his sexually predatory partner Lila (Tricia Helfer) move in upstairs for a week of playing house.
Most home invasion movies center around the viewpoint of the victim and often rely on intense scenes. Open House switches the viewpoint to that of one of the killers and becomes more of a psychological presentation. More often than not, we start to feel that David is tossed between his passion for killing and his new found obsession with Alice. He knows he should have killed her, but there is something about her that makes him want to keep her alive.
The hot tub scene is brutal, alluring, intense and beautiful. It’s probably the only time we feel any remorse for the kills in the movie. Most of the deaths are quick and to the point, and because of the speed of the kills, we believe that Lila and David don’t really have a passion for what they do – it’s almost like a repetitive job to them.
It’s a bit strange to feel for David, because we’ve been ingrained all our lives to feel for the victim, but Geraghty plays the role so well, that we want him to get the girl and eventually get some help for himself. He’s both the protagonist and the antagonist at the same time and that turmoil might be hard for some viewers to capture.
As a low budget thriller, Open House has lots going for it, especially when we get to the inevitable climax. It would have been exciting and interesting to see this on screens at a festival to see how people react to feeling for the killer rather than the victim.
For a first film, Winnipeg’s Andrew Paquin has done a great job. He’s made an original take on the typical home invasion theme, but we could have used a bit more thrills and chills.