Pete’s Peek | You’re invited to an Open House where horror is your host

I couldn’t help using the tagline from 1963’s The Haunted Palace to entice you into reading this review, as that’s what the film-makers have done by promoting this home invasion horror as ‘starring’ True Blood‘s Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer – even though it doesn’t.

Despite having their famous faces plastered on the film’s promotional posters, the real-life husband and wife actors don’t appear together, nor do they have anything more than cameos (I suspect Anna probably did it as a favour to her big brother, Andrew, whose feature debut this is).

Open House certainly doesn’t need these kind of shenanigans as it’s actually half-decent, and boasts an impressively haunting performance from the film’s real star, Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker).

Geraghty plays the prim, toned David (think Norman Bates, but really fit), a psycho so coldly detached from humanity that he can kill at whim; while Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer (in high camp mode) is his sexed-crazed partner Lila, who has equally violent urges.

Together, this sicko couple set up residence in the house of soon-to-be-divorcée Alice (Rachel Blanchard of Clueless fame), who is abducted by the pair, placed in shackles, and dumped in a cellar.

While Lila sets out to seduce – and kill – her new neighbours, the prudish, sexless David takes his mind off Lila’s infidelity by grooming the imprisoned Alice into becoming his slave. Biding her time, Alice then tries to make her escape…

Open House wants to be more than just another slasher, with the director citing the Coen brothers and American Beauty as his inspiration, but it misses hitting those lofty heights. Indeed, I can think of other films of a similar nature (The Honeymoon Killers in particular) that succeed where this one merely strives.

Still, it’s a good-looking film, thanks to the hip cinematography and hot cast; and it certainly won’t harm Geraghty’s profile. Plus there’s a bonus for Stephen Moyer fans – he speaks in his native Essex accent.

Out now on DVD

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