PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

'Open House' Stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer! But Not Really!

Open House begins with a spooky premise, and then squanders every ounce of creativity that might have been born of it.

Open House

Director: Andrew Paquin
Cast: Brian Geraghty, Rachel Blanchard, Anna Paquin, Tricia Helfer, Stephen Moyer
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Year: 2010
Release Date: 2010-08-03

For a straight-to-DVD movie few have ever heard of, this thing sure boasts a lot of talent. Or at least, that’s how it appears when you pick it up off the shelf at the good old Video Store. Since it appears to star such cult draws as Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer (True Blood), Rachel Blanchard (Peep Show), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), and Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Gallactica), I, for one, was intrigued to see what this was all about.

Turns out: not much. This lazy, confusing, and generally dull splatterfest was directed by none other than Anna Paquin’s brother, and it seems that he called in a few favours. While Blanchard and Helfer offer typically strong performances with the weak material they have to work with, Paquin and her real-life husband Moyer are here mostly, one is left to assume, so that they can be advertised as its stars.

Paquin, hilariously, has two lines before being killed offscreen. An extra could have played this “part”. And yet, there she is on the DVD cover, standing in front of the actual lead actors in the film. Though not the movie’s fault – this is surely a marketing decision made by the folks at Stone Brook Entertainment – it still causes one to feel cheated, duped, annoyed, and disappointed, which is not a good mood to be in when watching the rest of this junkpile.

Because, apart from the unfortunate casting and absurdly misleading advertising, the movie stinks. Like so many failed horror flicks before it, Open House begins with a spooky premise, and then squanders every ounce of creativity that might have been born of it. A young couple (Blanchard and Moyer) are in the midst of a break-up, and are trying to sell the marital home. They hold an “open house”, and show the place to all sorts of folks who wander in off the street (as one does).

However, one of the people who comes in to see the place never leaves. He is hiding in the basement, waiting, plotting, and preparing. That’s some pretty terrifying stuff, right? The problem is: where to go from here?

Writer-director Andrew Paquin’s answer is: unimaginative bloody killing, random sketchy characterizations, a few off-kilter lessons in criminal psychology, a little brother-on-sister action, and some borderline torture porn. It’s immensely boring to watch, and otherwise completely undemanding of the viewer’s intellect.

Though the performances are all impressive – Blanchard spends much of the movie either tied up in a closet or mutely following the orders of her captors and yet still manages to be compelling, and Geraghty comes across as steely and terrifying – the plot, direction, script, and effects (especially the jammy blood) do all they can to detract from their work. Don’t waste your time.

This DVD comes with extras including a feature-length commentary from the director in which he apologises at length for bringing in his famous and talented sister just to trick viewers into coming to see his m… oh.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.