Mary (Maisie Williams) was just trying to get to work when she discovers that her lousy boyfriend Ian (Ian Kenny) has taken the car to case a house in the new thriller THE OWNERS. She finds him parked in a field with wirey Gaz (Jake Curran) and dumpy Terry (Andrew Ellis). The three are waiting for the owners of a rather posh home in the English countryside to leave in order to break in and gain access to a cash-filled safe. I’m glad you asked. No, things DON’t go as planned when the befuddled Dr. Huggins (Sylvester McCoy) and his wife Ellen (Rita Tushingham) leave and the heist commences. What does end up happening is an unpredictable battle of wits and deception as the elderly couple return and find intruders in their home. What could have been a retread of Don’t Breathe turns out to have a few more tricks up its sleeve and a nasty cynicism to boot resulting in a fun, if not entirely novel, thriller.
Dr. Huggins and his doing wife leave the premises and the three hoodlums hop the fence to break in. It seems that Terry, the whinier of the bunch, knows that there is a safe in the basement loaded with cash. Fine. Mary reluctantly follows her boyfriend inside in what is easily the film’s weakest ask and we spend the next few minutes wondering why on Earth a girl with a job would decide to be lured into burglarizing a home as opposed to hightailing it out of there. We soon realize the stakes are much higher for Mary and Ian, and that getting into the safe is problematic. The elderly couple returns and we, as horror fans, know that these dumb kids should have left hours ago. Instead of the Doctor and his wife begin to play a nasty game of psychological and physical torture. But why? What does the old couple want?
The Dr. and his wife prove to be a nasty pair to be reckoned with. The script from Julius Berg and Mathieu Gompel gives us enough info to be suspicious, then just a bit more to be terrified. We see the invaders soon lose control of the situation at the hands of far more conniving minds. McCoy delivers a fiendish performance as the doctor who is attacked, then suddenly tasked with a Hippocratic oath. I’ve not felt this chilly from a British accent since Hannibal Lecter. Then there is Tushingham as the wife and medical assistant who seems to have a screw loose. just terrifying and brilliant.
With everything that happens, it’s easy to forget that this is a single-location thriller with a limited cast. Director and co-writer Julius Berg keeps the locations in the home segmented, allowing for a relative change in scenery, opening the action up from the basement to the dining room then the doctor’s office, etc. This one is tense but not overly claustrophobic.
The Owners is a clever movie that takes a light grip then holds until you gasp for air. I frankly found the pacing, even some of the story beats to be dubious. Yet I continued to buy into the story. Just as Dr. Huggins and his servile wife had mastery over their aggressors, The Owners had me until the end. The lesson? The elderly are not to be trifled with.
Rating 7 out of 10
|Runtime:||1 hr 32 Mins.|