Coroner's ReportIf you were Andrew Paquin and your sister, along with her husband, were currently starring in one of the most popular and sexy shows currently on television, what would you do? If “write a script and get them to guest in it so that a studio could put their faces prominently on the box art” then you should get a drink with him. Because you think alike.

So perhaps that is a bit harsh. I mean, really, who wouldn’t take advantage of something like that? Regardless, Open House is a thriller currently available on DVD that stars Brian Geraghty and Tricia Helfer as a pair of sadistic squatters with a thirst for blood. Not thirsting for blood this go around is Stephen Moyer, who guests stars along with his wife, Anna Paquin, who is in the film for a few minutes.

David (Geraghty) and Lila (Helfer) are a seemingly normal (okay, not even close) couple who have a nasty habit of attending open houses and killing those who cross their paths before moving on. Grown tired of the lifestyle, David decides to keep one girl as a special friend instead of slitting her throat, which only compounds his growing issues with Lila.

Kills

There are about seven deaths shown on film with another four occurring off-screen.

Ills

Most of the kills come via slit throat, though there is also a throat stabbing, some torso stabbing, an eye stab, a chest stab, and some assorted body parts. While it sounds like there is a whole lot of stabbing going on, the film isn’t very graphic and won’t satiate your blood lust, but it does kill a fairly high number of people for a film of this type.

Lust

Tricia Helfer is in a hot tub wearing a bikini and she moans during an aquatic sex scene. It’s pretty hot, though we don’t see anything. But I mean hey it’s Tricia Helfer so god damn!

Learning

Maybe it’s better to rent an apartment. Or don’t go into realty, the market is a killer. BAD UM TIS. (I feel bad.)

Review

As a first time director, Andrew Paquin proves he knows many things about film-making. The movie looks good and is competently directed – the shots are nice and varied and all of the actors give good performances. As a first time writer, however, Paquin puts together an interesting story that never fully engages the audience. It’s definitely a watchable film, but one that is somewhat frustrating in that you really want to care about what’s happening, though you’re never given reason to.

The things going on are superficially quite interesting, though the film lacks that certain hook that really pulls you in and keeps your eyes glued to the screen. Rather, in between the interesting bits, the mind wanders.

While David is supposed to be a mysterious character, one who remains mostly mute, this has the obvious side effect of us never really learning much about him or his plight other than he really likes to just sit around and stare. Helfer’s Lila is much more outgoing and interesting, though the camera never leaves the house, so when she’s gone she’s out of sight, out of mind, and out of characterization. This is potentially a budgetary consideration, though would it have been too much to bring some of the outside world in?

Open House puts the audience almost in the shoes of a neighbor – we see a few things, know that something interesting is happening, but never get to see it. While that may be a fun game of imagination in the real world, in a thriller about a pair of murderers, actually seeing something happening is far more interesting.

Rachel Blanchard turns in a good performance as the kidnapped Alice, but again, we don’t see much development. Rather than observing change in characters, we mostly see David stare at something and then a minor change may occur – not in a psychic way or anything, that’s just how the film enters its transition. Starin’. Geraghty is a suitably creepy killer, it’s just a shame we didn’t actually learn something.

In short, a watchable thriller that takes its time and rarely thrills, with a much more interesting and engaging film buried just below the surface which we frustratingly never get to see.


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