Friday, July 16, 2010

Open House Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 19.6 GB
Film Size: 16.7 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: A
The Video
Open House comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film’s color palette is intentionally murky and colors generally look drained, but this is one stunning high-def video presentation as a whole.

The film is a very dark one, one which black levels become particularly important. I am very glad to say that black levels are inky as can be and provide a real eye-popping video presentation over a flat-looking presentation.

Detail levels are also extremely impressive, whether it be the textures of the environments or the smallest of facial details. There are some truly ‘wow’ moments which I’m sure many of you remember having during your first Blu-ray experiences especially.

This is one movie which I am sure the DVD could not compare in quality to. There was a slight issue I had when the characters were watching the television, which were clear compression issues. However, the compression issues were that of the video the characters are watching in the film (likely due to lower budgets) and not fault of the actual high-def presentation of the movie.

The compression issue was probably not even worth mentioning as it is not fault of the Blu-ray presentation, however it did bug me and take me out of the film experience for a couple of minutes. Oh well, I don’t think much can be done about that without going back and editing the film itself.

Overall I don’t have any complaints about the high-def transfer. There were a few less-detailed moments throughout, but most scenes were visually stunning. The issues I have are more with choices in the film itself over anything. The Blu-ray presentation is a clear improvement and I can’t imagine the transfer looking much better than it does now. 9/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the only audio option (aside from the audio commentary) included. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH and Spanish.

The audio presentation is definitely a good one; in fact I can honestly say that certain audio moments helped make the film a scarier experience than it would have been. The creepy surround use moments were perfectly fitting and added a lot to my experience.

Dialogue is presented front and center, staying crisp and clear as can be. The film’s surround use moments came from the music and creepy audio effects. Surround use isn’t always as heavy as I would have liked for a horror film in particular, but it definitely makes itself known when it is in use.

Overall I thought the audio track is one which enhances the experience. It doesn’t compare to the very best horror mixes on Blu-ray (The Strangers, Drag Me To Hell are just two examples) but I was more than pleased. The audio experience is definitely an enjoyable one. 8/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
With Director Andrew Paquin and Actor Brian Geraghty.

Deleted Scenes (9:45) (HD)
Three deleted scenes are included and are presented in high-definition.

Open House Trailer (2:08) (SD)

Also From Lionsgate (HD)

Save your favorite scenes and return to them later via the bookmarks feature.

The extras on this release are fairly lacking, but to be honest I didn’t expect much from the extras. The film didn’t receive a major theatrical release so it is hard to demand a lot of work go into special features. The audio commentary will likely be enjoyable for fans of the film and the deleted scenes are a nice addition. 3/10.

The Movie
Open House is a horror film from Director Andrew Paquin. Andrew Paquin is the older brother of True Blood star Anna Paquin, who is also in the film. The film’s cover art made me believe that Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer of True Blood were the leads in the film, but it turns out they are a smart selling point over the actual stars in the film.

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are definitely a reason the film will get more attention than it would without them, even if they are only in a few minutes of the film. Stephen Moyer is actually more present in the film than Anna Paquin is.

The movie is about a home invasion which takes place at an open house, with a divorced couple trying to sell the home. During an open house a stranger enters and hides in the home, waiting until the evening to take over the home.

The film does feature some pretty creepy moments; however I do think the film could have been much scarier if executed better. If you don’t want anything spoiled, don’t read my next couple of sentences (however, it isn’t really a spoiler as you will see it in the menus of the film before you start the movie). I thought the Anna Paquin death at the beginning of the film could have been a lot better, particularly if they had shown her getting killed rather than just showing the random aftermath.

The film’s male villain isn’t particularly terrifying either. The man is definitely creepy towards the beginning of the film (until he opens his mouth later in the film). When he doesn’t talk he feels perfectly cast, but once he speaks it really takes away much of the suspense.

The film is one which will keep you entertained from beginning to end, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a great film. The film is admittedly better than many horror films today, but I just didn’t think anything really stands out to call it amazing.

Open House is a fun movie which will definitely scare some more than others, but I don’t think many will really dislike the movie (I don’t think many will really love the movie either). I wish the film had a bit more character development before the home invasion starts, but what is done is done.

The film may not have high production values, but they work with the budget they have and provide a horror film which is actually quite respectable in many aspects. I respect that.

I know I mentioned mostly negative aspects of the film, but I tend to do that with horror films especially. The film can definitely get creepy and the story is more realistic than most horror films so it could be a much scarier experience to many viewers. I thought it was a pretty decent and fairly enjoyable movie, but I’ve also seen much scarier and better-executed efforts. 6/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Open House is an enjoyable horror movie, but ultimately fails to be memorable. The Blu-ray release is great, featuring a stunning video presentation and good audio mix. The extras are a bit lacking, but I can’t say I expected too much. Overall the Blu-ray release is easily “Recommended” to fans and definitely “Worth A Look” to others whether it be a purchase or rental.

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