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The Owners Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by RLJE Films

the owners large

Directed by Julius Berg
Written by Mathieu Gompel and Julius Berg
2020, 92 minutes, Not Rated
Released on September 4th, 2020

Starring:
Maisie Williams as Mary / Jane
Ian Kenny as Nathan
Andrew Ellis as Terry
Jake Curran as Gaz
Sylvester McCoy as Richard Huggins
Rita Tushingham as Ellen Huggins
Stacha Hicks as Jean

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Review:

According to Webster’s, the word formulaic means “adhering to set forms or conventions or produced according to a formula or set of formulas”. That’s the dictionary definition, anyways. To horror fans, the word often has a less savory connotation, and that isn’t entirely fair. After all, every film follows a certain formula (often at multiple levels of production). That doesn’t mean it has to be like everything we’ve seen before, but the reality is that it all too often does.

The Owners is unabashedly a home invasion film that follows the path laid out before it and doesn’t deviate in any regard. Once you get over that particular facet (if that sort of thing sticks in your craw), you’re still left with a film that nails the slightly madcap tone of Stuart Gordon or Dan O’Bannon while being wrapped in a lovely English veneer that echoes the extremely underseen 1974 gem Frightmare.

Nathan (Ian Kenny; Solo: A Star Wars Story), his meek and dimwitted friend Terry (Andrew Ellis; This is England ’88), and their blatantly criminal mate Gaz (Jake Curran; Maze Runner: The Death Cure) are about to embark on a burglary. Terry’s mum works for a rich old couple with a safe, and they live out in the middle of nowhere. It’s the perfect job, except for the old couple themselves. Doctor Richard Huggins (Sylvester McCoy; The Hobbit series) and his wife, Ellen (Rita Tushingham; Doctor Zhivago), aren’t you average harmless elderly couple. Dragged into the mix is Nathan’s faithful girlfriend, Mary (Maisie Williams; Game of Thrones). She’s horrified when burglary turns to armed robbery. These bungling criminals soon find themselves in the role of victim, however, and are forced into the realization that old and rich doesn’t mean defenseless or even sane.

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While there’s no way to look around the highly formulaic plotting and beats of The Owners, the experience is still a lot of damn fun thanks to a disturbed sense of humor and a talented ensemble that operates at full steam in a locked room type of environment. Had Julius Berg and Mathieu Gompel gone for a serious tone, The Owners would have been derivative and predictable to the point of a bad taste in your mouth. Fortunately, everybody involved wants you to know that you shouldn’t be taking this one too seriously.

Sylvester McCoy takes that unique visage that made him perfect for Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit and breaks off the knob on the creep factor. Likewise, for the amazing Rita Tushingham as loony Ellen; she gives zero fucks about appearances and just goes for it. The trio of bumbling thieves play their parts with appropriate stupidity, and then Arya Stark herself cleans up the mess…or tries to, at least.

The violence level and practical SFX are first-rate and include my favorite sledgehammer shot of all time. It’s a genuine rewind moment; I wish I could have taken this in on a VCR and a cheap-ass TV with my brother back in the day! Veteran drug users will appreciate the eerie trippiness of the “What was in that needle?!” scene.

Ultimately, The Owners is a bit frustrating. It swings for the fences with attitude, viciousness, and an extremely dark sense of humor. It’s got a great cast that crushes it. The effort level, so to speak, is an A-plus. It’s great-looking in a gothic style, as well. Still, it’s so formulaic that you’re left with high praise that manages to feel a bit one-dimensional (even if that one dimension is hyper-effective). It’s an odd mix that is still worth your time.

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Grades:

Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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