July 18, 2016 At Granny’s House (Movie Review)
Latest Horror film release At Granny’s House offers a new perspective into taking borders into one’s home. Released on DVD as of May 24, 2016 via Indie Rights and written and directed by Les Mahoney (The Big Kiss Off 2013, Available 2016), Mahoney also stars as one of the protagonists, Ted Steiner. Featuring a strong cast, it was filmed out in Haxtun, California and the events are set in modern times in small town America.
Marion Rogers (Glenda Morgan Brown: Sudden Death 1995, Validation 2007) is an older woman living on her own, and after a recent mix up of her medication; which ends in a near fatal overdose, Marion’s son Frank (Bryant Watts: Driven 2015) insists she find a live-in carer. After interviewing a few, Marion decides to employ Rebecca Torrance (Rachel Alig: Officer Down 2013, Ghostline 2015), a young energetic woman ready for a fresh start. The pair hit it off immediately, and Rebecca takes good care of Marion. After Rebecca has been staying at the house for a few weeks, she suggests Marion make some extra income by renting out one of the empty bedrooms via findabed.com. Initially, Marion is reluctant, but soon warms to the idea and they begin bringing in borders. Almost immediately, Rebecca’s dark side is revealed, and she begins killing the house guests in relative privacy.
Her routine goes unchanged until the arrival of Ted (Mahoney) and his wife Linda (Laura Lee: Tony’s Place 2015, One Mother of a Job 2015) to stay for a couple of days. A strange attraction begins between Ted and Rebecca, and they begin a torrid affair, undetected. One morning, Linda disappears and Marion begins to suspect something is going on. Yet, Ted continues to live with Marion and Rebecca in a twisted arrangement until the arrival of a Police Detective, Boarstag (Bill Oberst Jr.: Criminal Minds series, Stressed to Kill 2016), which upsets their delicate balance. Over the course of twenty four hours, their violent behavior escalates, resulting in a shocking twist of events. The trio turn on each other, and it is unclear who will remain alive in Granny’s house.
Overall, At Granny’s House is an interesting and original storyline, however, some aspects pull the viewer out of the story. The acting and dialogue are stilted, without a natural flow or feel. Morgan-Brown is perhaps a decade, if not more from being considered elderly, so her muddle-headed, old person routine is unbelievable. In addition, the attraction between Rebecca; who is an attractive young woman, and Ted; a middle-aged man, is a bit of a stretch in the viewer’s minds. With the attraction between them so intense and immediate, more backstory about both of them may solidify the relationship in the viewers mind, making it understandable. As it is, it feels out of place. There are some lagging moments between scenes, which leaves the viewer eagerly waiting the next, but not for the right reasons. However, the cinematography by Michael Blue is sharp, especially considering all scenes take place in Marion’s house. Blue also did a great job on the special effects, which while minimal, are believable.
As a massive Alfred Hitchock fan, Mahoney sprinkled his love for him throughout the film. The private detective Boarstag’s name is an anagram of the detective featured in Psycho, Arbogast. Further, a number of elements in the story shadow particular famous Hitchcock film scenes. His wife Tammy Ridenour appeared as an extra in the film, and, of course, Mahoney himself had a large role as Ted Steiner. Mahoney shows a lot of promise for the future. A decent watch with an intriguing story, CrypticRock gives At Granny’s House 3 out of 5 stars.