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Open 24 Hours Main

Open 24 Hours Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Signature Entertainment

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Written and directed by Padraig Reynolds
2018, 99 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Released on 20th July 2020

Starring:
Vanessa Grasse as Mary
Brendan Fletcher as Bobby
Cole Vigue as James
Emily Tennant as Debbie

Review:

After finding out that her boyfriend is a notorious serial killer, heroine Mary shows her disapproval by setting her man on fire (!). A little too late though, and Mary is duly arrested for turning a blind eye to her boyfriend’s awful crimes for so long. Now out on parole, she applies for a position at the only place that will have her – a remote gas station, working the graveyard shift. Experiencing vivid daydreams and horrific hallucinations, Mary is finding it increasingly difficult to tell waking nightmare from reality – a big problem when you’re being stalked by your murderous ex.

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In playing around with his heroine’s vulnerable metal state and tenuous grasp on reality, Padraig Reynolds’s (mostly) single-location slasher movie has a bit more to offer than your usual cat-and-mouse horror flick. It’s essentially Halloween by way of Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man. The Visible Man, if you will.

Reynolds has a great lead in Vanessa Grasse (reminiscent of Scout Taylor-Compton’s Laurie Strode with her long dark hair and choice in plaid shirts), fending off all manner of emotional and physical abuse. She has to shoulder not only all of the customer service at the Deer Gas Market, but also the bulk of the film too. Still, Freddy vs Jason star Brendan Fletcher is of good value too, as Mary’s amiable new workplace chum Bobby. With a regular influx of friends, customers and her grizzly, grizzled parole officer, there’s never a dull moment at the Deer Gas Market.

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And it’s the gas station itself that proves to be the real star of Open 24 Hours. Unlike a lot of cheap and cheerful single-location slasher films, this one makes the most of its neon-lit, rundown old setting, from the fully-stocked front of house to the dirty, dingy bathroom out back. Rarely has a movie gas station looked so great – nor been so packed full of atmosphere and scares. It’s the perfect playground for its antagonist – the may-or-may-not-be-real Rain Ripper (and how handy for him, that it just so happens to be pissing it down on this one fateful night).

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Reynolds keeps audiences guessing to the end, throwing in plenty of red herrings and plot twists along the way. At 99 minutes, it does tend to drag a bit before the end, although the balance between suspense and action is well-managed. Its generous servings of splatter should satisfy gorehounds too, even if the tonal shift is an abrupt one. It’s mildly disappointing, given the strength of the film’s setup, that its finale should be so rote and almost predictable.

Nevertheless, Open 24 Hours is a lot of fun; a smart, exciting slasher film with excellent cinematography, heaps of gore and a great story. Like the Deer Gas Market, it’s rough around the edges, but should have just about something for everyone.

Grades:

Movie: 3.5 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

 

About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Writer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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