As the saying goes, the tables are about to be turned . . .
Nathan (Ian Kenny), Terry (Andrew Ellis) and Gaz (Jake Curran) have decided to stake out — and rob — the home of Dr. and Mrs. Huggins (Sylvester McCoy and Rita Tushingham), thinking it’ll be an easy cash grab. All three are eager to remedy their current, subpar circumstances, and what better way than by sneaking inside a wealthy, elderly doctor’s large countryside estate when he’s gone out for the night? Raid their safe, in, out, done. Easy . . . at least, in theory. Mary (Maisie Williams), Nathan’s girlfriend, doesn’t approve of their behaviour and waits outside for him to come back, irritated and anxious.
As part of their conquest, the three boys trash the beautiful manor in order to find the coveted safe. Like Mary, Terry is also having second thoughts about the whole endeavour, wracked with nerves and guilt before any real damage has been done. The other two however, are far less concerned. Upon discovering the safe in the basement, they realise that they’re unable to open it: it’s a dial lock and, with seeing no other option, the trio decide to ambush the Huggins when they return and persuade them to give up the combination. Having been inadvertently dragged into the mess of it all, Mary meanwhile, tries to stop the insanity by calling the police, only to meet the same desperate cruelty at the hands of her so-called friends that the doctor and his wife have. Facing growing resistance from the Huggins and one another, the night takes a violent turn fast, and one of them ends up stabbed, bleeding out in the cold basement. Unfortunately, the evening has only just begun.
Based on the graphic novel “Une Nuit de Pleine Lune” by Yves H. Hermann director Julius Berg’s The Owners presents a twist on the popular home invasion narrative that draws from both the horror and the thriller genre and establishes an adrenaline-inducing sense of dread early on.
From the moment we first meet the Huggins’ officially, one can tell there’s something not quite right about them. Dr. Huggins knows things about each of the invaders and uses it to try and convince them to act differently. Politeness aside, they’re unsettling in a way you can’t quite name. “Trust me, my dear.” Dr. Huggins repeats; the chemistry between each of the players however, is wholly defined by mistrust. Such a little word, hinting at so much.
The frequent, up-close shots evoke a more intimate sense of fear and cunning as we can see the actors’ facial expressions more sharply. They cannot hide behind the camera. Rather, they’re completely exposed, which only heightens the impending sense of doom that has descended and is maintained thanks to the dark, borderline gothic setting of a creaky manor, nestled amongst the hills, surrounded on all sides by the thundering of the oncoming night. Additionally, there are moments of goriness, splashed throughout the scenes which fans of horror will enjoy.
Maisie Williams is as wonderful as always, giving a strong performance in an otherwise satisfactory suspense film. McCoy and Tushingham are notable as well.
Overall, the film is a chaotic, messy piece that tugs viewers back and forth and doesn’t quite have a clear point to its insanity. But the final two minutes or so do cause one to gasp at the very least —which is overdue. The Owners is good for a Friday night in, offering up an average level of suspense that doesn’t demand too much effort on the part of the viewer.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away . . . or does it?
by Kacy Hogg
Kacy is an English Lit student living in the Great White North (no not Winterfell unfortunately), Canada. Her favourite films include the Harry Potter series, Cinderella, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hangover, and Lady Bird. She’s also an avid binge-watcher of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. You can follow her on Twitter here: @KacHogg95