Little Arya Stark (aka Maisie Williams) is all grown up and she’s unintentionally aiding and abetting crime in The Owners, which arrives in theaters, as well as to On Demand and Digital, on Friday, September 4, 2020 thanks to RLJE Films.
Based on the 2017 graphic novel Une Nuit De Pleine Lune by artist Hermann and writer Yves H., The Owners marks the feature debut of Writer-Director Julius Berg (La forêt mini-series, Osmosis series), who co-authored the screenplay along with Matthieu Gompel (The Dream Kids 2013). Starring Williams (Game of Thrones series, The New Mutants 2020), the Horror-Thriller revolves around a trio of bored, aspiring burglars who have insider information suggesting that a posh country estate sports a cash-stuffed safe somewhere within its walls.
The lure of easy money is too much for Nathan (Ian Kenny: Solo: A Star Wars Story 2018, Dublin Murders series) to pass up, particularly with the news that his girlfriend Mary (Williams) is pregnant. Though when the third musketeer, and informant, Terry (Andrew Ellis: This Is England 2006, Redemption 2013), hesitates to tag along, he’s goaded into submission by Gaz (Jake Curran: Journey’s End 2017, Maze Runner: The Death Cure 2018). Unamused with the entire affair, Mary waits at the car for what is supposed to be a quick robbery so that she can get to work on time.
But when it comes to the world of the Horror-Thriller, a home invasion is never quite as simple as it might initially appear. Enter Dr. Richard Huggins (Sylvester McCoy: Dr. Who series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 2012) and his wife Helen (Rita Tushingham: A Taste of Honey 1961, The Knack… and How to Get It 1965), who have just returned home from an evening on the town to discover the hare-brained thieves smoking cigars while Mary cringes in a corner. Disgusted with their brazen disrespect, the pair set out to protect their home—no matter the cost.
With obvious similarities to 2016’s Don’t Breathe and the splendid, bleak humor of 2013’s You’re Next, The Owners spins 92 minutes of mind games and slashing good times, all as it introduces viewers to an older couple who remind us to never underestimate our elders. Creating a twisted web of intermingled relationships that tie all six characters together, the film builds extensive tension from the outset and continues to keep moviegoers guessing where it might ultimately land.
Thanks to a well-done screenplay, appropriately moody cinematography by David Ungaro (The Burnt Orange Heresy 2019, The Turning 2020), and a magnificent score from Space & Vibes, The Owners presents a package that has been carefully stitched together to provide a fully enjoyable yet disturbing experience. Not laden with endless underlying layers of commentary, the film is meant to be taken as exactly what it is: thrills, chills, and one very soft-spoken but devious little Hobbit.
Speaking of which, McCoy delivers an exceptional performance as the adorable Dr. Richard Huggins. McCoy’s Richard is a calm, cool, and collected elderly gentleman who speaks with the authoritative certainty of a physician as he attempts to quell the chaos within his home. Meanwhile his lovely wife, Tushingham’s Helen, is a generally quiet woman on the brink of dementia, one who seems to fade in and out of reality from time to time. And boy does she have one truly rotten, spine-tingling cackle! Together the pair of actors give their younger co-stars a workout, proving that the cold-blooded temperament can hide in even the most dapper of exteriors.
In the lead, Williams shows the boys how it’s done! While Kenny, Ellis, and Curran’s characters are trapped within their own tensions, blinded to an escalating situation and their utter lack of control, Williams’ Mary is the feisty young woman who opts to fight for what’s right. And soon afterward she ends up simply fighting for her life. With Williams’ previous acting experience, it’s really no shock that she’s a standout in the role of Mary, who is tailor-made to show Williams’ emotive abilities as well as her action-packed talents.
Honestly, The Owners isn’t a film that’s intended to be picked apart for nuance and hidden messages. It’s a fairly blatant Horror-Thriller with a cringe-inducing boxcutter fight, plenty of psychological aspects as all of the characters try to outwit one another, and a morbidly humorous grand finale featuring Stacha Hicks (Captain Phillips 2013, David Brent: Life on the Road 2016). All of this said, if The Owners is any indication, Berg is guaranteed to make a splash in film. Ready for more, Cryptic Rock gives The Owners 4.5 of 5 stars.