Open House

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Back of Box:  Beverly Hills - a city of wealth, power and glamour.  It's also a town of vicious murders where the high priced world of real estate is the victim.  Realtors and their clients are being knocked off as quickly as the stock market fluctuates.  The only person who has any kind of lead is radio talk show psychologist, Dr. David Kelly (JOSEPH BOTTOMS - THE COVE, CELEBRITY) who solicits his audience's reaction to the murder.  Amid the barrage of phone calls comes one from "Harry."  Harry states with frightening conviction that the murder victims deserved to be killed
Meanwhile, Kelly's girlfriend, Lisa, (ADRIENNE BARBEAU - MAUDE, CREEPSHOW) is horrified.  As the most successful realtor in town, Lisa and her staff are prime targets.  Her competition becomes smaller and smaller as more people are killed, thus bringing the murderer closer to Lisa.  OPEN HOUSE is a terrifying look at the dark side of a city where sunshine mixes with business as the key to prosperity.  You'll never want to move again!
Plot:  A crazed maniac, killing off real estate agents and their clients...Works for me.  Just a different spin on an old idea.  The motive is what sets it apart for me.  The film ended with a rather original idea, even if it was a little odd.
Acting:  There was a strange cheesiness to the film, but a lot of the acting hits the mark.  Adrienne Barbeau is in fine form, but when isn't she?  Barry Hope's portrayal of Paul Resnick is classic, he's the perfect prick.  Robert Miano's character, Shapiro, annoyed the hell out of me, at first.  He starts as the stereotypical, rough and rugged cop, but really evens out as the film progresses.  Even Page Mosley as Toby, the gay comic relief, is spot on.  Well done all around.
GoreBody Count (9)  With a decent body count I definitely expected a little more out of this film.  Yes, there is excellent use of a homemade razor-mace involving the loss of fingers.  Yes, there is a amazingly wicked electrocution.  However, other than that, and the death of the killer, the film kind of takes the easy way out.  Hangings and bodies without on screen death scenes round out the rest of the "gore" this film has to offer. 
Suspense:  The soundtrack and the directing ruin this section.  Scenes that could've been scary, are drawn out way too long, and the crazy '80s porno music doesn't cause a bit of tension.  The only scene worth mentioning here is the image of the woman hanging in the second story window after her "buddy" leaves to call his pregnant wife.  The scene lingers, but I found it pretty disturbing.
Directing:  Hmmm...I'll admit that the direction was pretty smooth, but it was extremely plain.  Clean cut, but bland.  I felt like it could have been phenomenal, but Jag Mundhra was just too afraid to take any real chances.  However, I will say that I really believed that he had a strong connection with his actors.  I got the feeling that everyone was having fun.  It was almost like he knew how to set the atmosphere to get the best performances he could.  Commendable.
Tech:  Oh, God.  The soundtrack was corny, to say the least.  I truly believe that some of the tracks in the film are lifted straight from bad 80's porn.  The sound works, but sometimes it was iffy when it went back and forth with phone conversations over the radio.  The lighting was pretty natural.  Boring, but real.
Other:  Yes, there is nudity in the film.  Yes, some of it is from Adrienne Barbeau.  They tease with a little nipple shot in the beginning, but near the end they give a full topless shot.  That and some other big booby having babe gets completely naked and tries to run away...Yeah.  The locations are awesome for a film of this caliber.  All the houses used in the film are gorgeous.  Not only does this film deliver the slasher goods, but it also subtly blended in comedy rather well.  The scene where Dr. David Kelly (Joseph Bottoms) almost hits the old lady with the crowbar is hilarious.  Oh yeah, the killer isn't that cool.  Different, but lame.
Final Word:  This is one of those films that starts slow, gets better, and then ends ridiculously melodramatic.  Honestly, Adrienne Barbeau is the only thing that really holds this film together.  Other than Ms. Barbeau's performance this film is nothing more than an all but forgotten cheese-fest.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for the under appreciated.


Don't Move, Don't Breathe, and Whatever You Do...DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!