Predictable, yet expertly executed…
‘The Owners’ is another film promoting a fresh take on the home invasion genre. There have actually been quite a good number of movies which take the tried and tested concept, dug deep in the creative soils and actually created something fresh and new and whilst ‘The Owners’ doesn’t exactly innovate, its clever use of authentic locations, strong characters and effective use of tension provides some serious bang for buck!
The plot follows a group of yobs as they plan to burgle the rather prestigious house of the local doctor. Tipped off by the family’s cleaner, the group of friends, and a self-proclaimed ‘pro’ set upon the isolated stately home in the hope of finding a safe chock full of cash. Despite some meagre protest from one of the groups girlfriends, the witless crooks find themselves inside with little hassle, but it’s not long before they their initial good fortune turns to rat shit. The seasoned ‘pro’ is something of a psychopath, they find little in the way of valuables and the safe is impregnable with the equipment they’ve brought with them. As morale drops the group start to turn on each other, interrupted only by the return of ‘The Owners’.
Then the night really starts…
From the get-go the pace is brisk and the stakes begin to rise. The characters are introduced, and whilst fairly typical stereotypes in terms of modern ‘urban’ films the acting is strong and the group are believable as a group of yobs. Between bouts of crude banter and some combative scenes we get to know the roles of each within the group and its not long before the established hierarchy and ulterior motives begin to weave their way nicely into the evolving storyline.
Whilst ‘The Owners’ isn’t a horror film, there are some definite tropes which borrow heavily from more typical genre films to build tension. The house is suitably creepy, expansive enough to put the group out their element, but cluttered enough to make it claustrophobic. An unusual set of videos and images discovered by the group hint at more sinister secrets hidden within, specifically questioning the sordid habits of the house’s inhabitants. Whilst bravado is high, the carefully written dialogue betrays the group’s true esteem.
The film turns violent when the group begin to face the prospect of leaving empty handed, escalating further when the owners return, and further still when…. Well that would be spoiling it!
This film has a seriously nasty streak running through it, and whilst there isn’t an unrealistic amount of splatter found throughout, what there is is both brutal and bloody. There are a number of set pieces in the movies runtime which craft the perfect amount of tension, unpredictability and satisfying conclusion to make this movie an absolute joyride.
The effects are really great and coupled with the persistently strong performances each and every set piece makes the impact it intends to, just staying the right side of conceivable, yet maintaining this surreal ‘on-edge’ feeling.
I won’t lie and suggest that the films numerous twists aren’t fairly well telegraphed to anyone whose moderately familiar with the home-invasion sub-genre, but somehow ‘The Owners’ manages to keep them feeling fresh and even though there are a few elements here and there which felt more cliché than in-keeping, I think it’s the authenticity of the performances on all fronts which help elevate this movie to the overall success it is.
Overall ‘The Owners’ isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind with originality, but in terms of the tension that you expect home invasion films to deliver, this one does, in spades. There are so many nice little flourishes within in the film keeping it rocketing along at a lightening pace; so many moments when you think the film has peaked, only for another ace to drop down the sleeve. It’s not perfect, but if you’re a fan of the concept I strongly recommend you check out ‘The Owners’.