Elijah Wood & Sasha Grey in ‘Open Windows’ UK DVD & VOD

openwindowsOPEN WINDOWS
Out on DVD 20th April
Released Digitally 13th April

From revered horror writer/director Nacho Vigalondo, comes the “fiendishly inventive” follow-up to modern cult favourites TIMECRIMES and segment ‘A’ of THE ABCs OF DEATH…

Director
Nacho Vigalondo

Cast
Elijah Wood (Maniac, Sin City, Lord of the Rings Trilogy)
Sasha Grey (The Girlfriend Experience, Would You Rather)
Neil Maskell (Kill List, TV series ‘UTOPIA’)

Open Windows is released in the UK on VOD 13th April and DVD 20th April from Koch Media.

You can order the DVD now from Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Open-Windows-DVD-Elijah-Wood/dp/B00ST9QSKK/

SYNOPSIS

When Nick (Elijah Wood) discovers that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite star Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey), he’s incredibly excited to finally get the chance to meet her. That excitement deflates when Jill refuses to honour the contest and all of Nick’s hopes are dashed. He’s intrigued when Chord (Neil Maskell), a man claiming to be Jill’s campaign manager, offers him something he can’t quite refuse: Chord will give Nick the ability to constantly view Jill via computer. Nick is initially reluctant but ultimately cannot resist the opportunity to gain unlimited access to the woman of his dreams. However, Nick soon learns that everything comes at a price, and what starts as the realisation of his fantasies soon becomes a nightmare that puts him and Jill in serious danger.

openwindows2OPEN WINDOWS takes the techno thriller further, borrowing its playbook from classic voyeuristic films such as REAR WINDOW (1954) and PEEPING TOM (1960). Spanish genre trickster Nacho Vigalondo (“Timecrimes,” “Extraterrestrial”) combines all these cinematic elements and cultural influences to tell a lurid tale of celebrity obsession, blackmail and murder; with plenty of clever twists delivered in an intricately designed cyber world – not too unfamiliar to the audience.

The film stars Elijah Wood, once again playing against a type established with the hugely successful LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy. OPEN WINDOWS is evidence again of his range and love for cult sci-fi and horror, following on from his recent performances in MANIAC (2012) and GRAND PIANO (2013).

QUOTES

“Elevates Hitchcockian suspense to jittery new levels of mayhem and paranoia.” Variety

“Hugely impressive” Sci Fi Now

“Inventive” UK Horror Scene

“Open Windows is a thrilling and suspenseful” HeyUGuys

“Taut and tense thrill-ride that with some of the most impressive filmmaking techniques seen in many a year.” Flickering Myth

“Plays a like a high tech Hitchcock thriller, with Elijah Wood excelling at the ‘wrong man’ Movie Ramblings

James Simpson’s World of Horror: Timecrimes (Spain, 2007)

timecrimesJames Simpson’s World of Horror: Timecrimes (Spain, 2007)

Director: Nacho Vigalondo

Starring: Karra Elejalde, Barbara Geonaga, Nacho Vigalondo, Candela Fernandez

aka: Los Cronocrimenes
Language: Spanish with English subtitles.
Run time: 1 hour 47 minutes.

The UKHS world tour of horror is back on the road and returns to that hotbed of brilliant 21st century world cinema, Spain…

Hector (Elejalde) and his wife (Fernandez) have just moved into a new home and are busy making it over. One day Hector returns from shopping and joins his wife in the back garden. It look likes the countryside that surrounds them and Hector likes to admire it with a pair of binoculars. While doing this he spots a young woman (Geonaga) removing her t-shirt and exposing her bare breasts, stood in some woods. His wife leaves and Hector decides to go into the woods and find out more about this woman. When he manages to locate her she is naked and unconscious and he is attacked by a man with his head wrapped with bandages.

Fleeing from the man Hector staggers into the fenced off grounds of a building that he hasn’t seen before. Fearing the bandaged man will attack again he pleads with someone in the building (played by Viglando) to help him. They tell him to get into a large pod, which he does so willingly. What Hector doesn’t know is that this is some form of a time machine and he is sent back in time to when he earlier returned from the shops. He now needs answers to what’s going on and how to ‘get back’ to his own time as history repeats itself…

The plot is elaborate and sophisticated with it’s use of time travel. As the story develops more and more complications stemming from Hector’s initial travel back in time take place. Director and writer Viglando challenges himself with a script that has several different things happening at once, although it doesn’t appear this way at first. As if to make things harder for himself Viglando also plays the scientist that controls the time machine, a good performance is put forward.

timecrimes1The more desperate Hector becomes in his efforts to ‘restore’ things to the way they were the more the story throws another issue his way, things on screen become increasingly complex. Viglando manages to fill the movie with multiple events that work and make sense and, while it may be a slight effort to keep up, all of these things come together at the end of Timecrimes. All the strands are tied nicely together, pardon the cliché, allowing the films impact to be more rewarding.

This isn’t to say Timecrimes is without it’s faults. One being the flimsy way in which certain events happen. As detailed above numerous aspects make sense, or at least entertain enough to fool the viewer into thinking they do, yet others fall short. The first travel back in time by Hector is never explained (no more will be said as this may be a spoiler in some way), the facility he finds that has a time machine in it is ‘just there’ and the science behind said time machine isn’t touched upon. Hector just so happens to live near a building that contains a time machine for reasons never explained.

Another issue to take note of is why he is sent back in time to the point in which he sees the girl topless. Why then of all times and not something more moribund such as Hector doing the dishes (not that he is seen doing this in Timecrimes, it’s just an example). After all, it is seeing the topless woman that causes him to find the time machine in the first place. But he just so happens to go back to then. It is assumed this is because, otherwise, the film would be incredibly short and devoid of much drama. Hector ‘caught in a loop’ is what the plot requires without further explanation.

Elejalde as Hector is a convincing lead and carries much of the screen time. He portrays the role as a happy and cheerful man yet as he experiences the consequences of time travel he slowly becomes a bitter and aggressive man. Initially he seems hesitant to manipulate people to do what he wants although by the end he is forceful and dangerous. Elejalde’s numerous performances are believable and heighten the drama when required.

For some years an English language remake has been rumoured. If any remake were to take place it is hoped the plotholes of the original will be filled in, allowing for some merit of a retooling (instead of another duff US-version of a loved foreign language movie).

timecrimeshectorTimecrimes is a thrilling and uncanny depiction of a man struggling to regain the life he has suddenly lost in a very unexpected way, which incorporates an engaging story (barring it’s weaknesses) and is finely made. The vision of Hector wearing the bandages is an enduring image of Spanish horror.

8 out of 10.

Readily available on DVD and VOD streaming services.

@JSimpsonWriter

Open Windows (2014) Review

FF bannerOpen_Windows_poster[1]Open Windows (2014)

Dir: Nacho Vigalondo

Written By: Nacho Vigalondo

Starring: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell, Iván González

100 mins.

UK release: Frightfest 2014

Following her refusal to have dinner with a competition winner, a diva actress finds herself at the mercy of a hacker and the unsuspecting man he’s chosen to do his bidding.

Much like the similarly-themed The Den, which also screened at Frightfestthis year, Elijah Wood vehicle Open Windows is presented entirely via computer screens. Where The Den utilised this gimmick to create tension and a sense of claustrophobia, Open Windows establishes a race against time that begins almost as soon as its protagonist first logs on.

Wood, who is quickly making a name for himself in genre pictures following a star turn in Franck Khalfoun’s stunning 2012 Maniac reboot, is Nick, a normal guy who runs a website in support of popular actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey). After winning a competition to have dinner with Jill, Nick suddenly finds himself at the mercy of a ruthless hacker who can control pretty much any electronic device within a certain remit, including Nick’s computer, Jill’s mobile phone and every laptop in a ten mile radius. Although he’s clearly an evil genius, the hacker (voiced by Kill List’s Neil Maskell, weirdly enough) speaks with a thick Cockney accent, meaning much of his dialogue comes across a bit funnier than is perhaps intended.

Open_1[1]A decent premise is stretched slightly thin over a 100-minute running time, but Wood is an enigmatic screen presence and he does desperate, weak everyman well. Grey, last seen overacting in the rather good Would You Rather, is a good fit for the spoilt Jill, a woman who believes she’s worth far more than she is, and whose strength of character is perhaps a bit lacking. She overacts once again, even when she’s starring in the film within the film, but she seems more comfortable here at least. There’s a nod to her previous career as a porn star too, which hints that maybe she’s got a sense of humour about herself.

Written and directed by Timecrimes’ Nacho Vigalondo, who also contributed a segment to V/H/S: Viral, Open Windows is a fast-paced, understandably silly film that believes its plot is much cleverer than it actually is. The Den took a bigger risk by limiting the action to one PC monitor and one woman. Open Windows branches out by encompassing every screen in L.A. and, at times, it feels almost too inclusive. Vigaolondo may be making a point about privacy and internet security, but the film doesn’t seem to really understand either. A subplot, involving a Paris-based group of hackers, provides much-needed respite from Nick’s troubles, as the dudes in question believe him to be a legendary terrorist known as Nevada, and consistently refer to him by that title in spite of how irritated he gets. In a film that seems to take itself more seriously than is necessary, it’s a nice addition.

With a minimal score, and absolutely zero jump scares, Open Windows is a refreshingly low key thriller. There’s an inventive, albeit slightly unrealistic, twist and the tension is built remarkably well considering Wood spends most of his time talking to a various screens. The technology may be a bit out there, but it’s still fun to marvel at, even if the majority of people will roll their eyes at how easily each device is comprised – although, in the wake of the iCloud leak, it may be more true to life than we can imagine. The biggest issue is that, without giving in to the madness, it’s difficult to get lost in the narrative and there are some who will refuse to buy into the terror plot at all, because it is overcomplicated and outlandish.

Open_2[1]Open Windows is a diverting enough flick, once the required suspension of disbelief is attained, and the leads are likeable, but IT experts best steer clear – there are moments when even the most dim computer user will call bullshit over what the mysterious hacker seems to be able to control.

Rating: 6/10