26th Oct2020

Frightfest 2020: ‘The Owners’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Maisie Williams, Sylvester McCoy, Andrew Ellis, Rita Tushingham, Jake Curran, Ian Kenny, Stacha Hicks | Written by Mathieu Gompel, Julius Berg | Directed by Julius Berg

I can’t remember watching a home invasion horror movie for a long time and then two come along at once. First, I watched By Night’s End and then The Owners comes along as part of this year’s Frightfest. I wouldn’t say it’s a sub genre I love but it has produced some really great movies – the likes of The Strangers, You’re Next, Don’t Breathe, Inside and Hush are all highly entertaining.

There is a tendency for lower budget home invasion offerings to go down the same path and stick to ideas that have been used time and time again. Meaning that many feel very samey. The Owners, at the very least, does try to do things a little bit different. So much so, that at about the halfway point you’ll be wondering exactly where it’s heading. Because at this point, we have had the invasion by a group of young adults on an elderly couple and it hasn’t gone quite as planned. There are several injuries and no-one has really seemed to have won the ‘battle’. So where is it going next. Unfortunately it goes in the most formulaic way possible but there is still plenty of highlights.

Perhaps to no surprise at all, the best of the performances come from Maisie Williams and Sylvester McCoy. McCoy, despite his statue, fits the old guy that creeps you out a bit well. Here is a doctor but you see that as a reason for him to be cruel rather than to help people. Williams is just a very good young actress and it’s surprising that after Game of Thrones she hasn’t gone on to as big of things as she should have. Performances like this will only help her career though. Andrew Ellis (Gadget of This Is England fame) at first plays a familiar role and one he is good at – that kind of lovable loser – but his character here takes a strange direction that I wasn’t a fan of.

There’s a few moments of violence, one in which the film-makers go all out with and on the make-up effects side it can’t be faulted. That one scene in particular is horribly violent and really does have an impact. In part because everything is held back a bit before it. The injuries look as brutal and realistically gory as any horror fan would hope for. Unfortunately the more the movie goes on, the easier it gets to guess where it is heading and it almost feels like it runs out of steam and ideas before it finishes.

That said, The Owners is far from a bad film. A bit more depth to the characters and thought to the story and this could have ranked up with the best of the home invasion movies. As it is though, it’s decent enough but won’t last long in the memory.

*** 3/5

The Owners screened on Friday October 23rd as part of this months Frightfest Digital Edition.


Comments are closed.