Open Windows, written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, The ABCs of Death, V/H/S: Viral), is more or less an experimental film that’s been done more than a few times with the entire picture taking place via a webcam, and although a nifty idea, the execution wasn’t the best.
Cinedigm | NR – 100 min. – $19.97 | January 27, 2015
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
Not much more that annoys me than gimmick movies and Open Windows is the latest, a film that takes place using computer cameras not unlike a recent horror film, The Den, which by comparison to this as far better. It also had flavors of Getaway, though I imagine there aren’t many out there who saw that one either nor should you. Ever.
The plot surrounding Open Windows is about a celebrity blogger named Nick Chambers (ELIJAH WOOD) who is in Austin, Texas to have dinner with movie starlet, and the subject of his site, Jill Goddard (SASHA GREY). But things take a turn when, via an ominous and anonymous voice simply named Chord over Nick’s computer supposedly from the movie producer that the dinner was cancelled by Goddard herself. Chord proceeds to do some nifty tricks hacking into Jill’s cell phone and allowing Nick to take a peek at the actress he’s obsessed with.
As one would suspect, and for some reason Nick takes time to realize this himself, Chord has no connection with Goddard as he directs Nick to set up his camera, supplied by the voice prior, to face Goddard’s motel room in the hopes of capturing a sexual encounter between Goddard and her secret lover (she’s officially dating her movie co-star). All of this is just a tease as nothing happens, but the voice has more in store when the lover discovers he was being spied upon and goes to the room to investigate where upon, again at the direction of the voice, he’s tased and tied up in the room.
After this, Chord has Nick go to the parking garage and get into his car where he’s told to follow a GPS to their next location: Jill’s apartment which was supplied by the studio. Outside, Nick witnesses Chord’s deviance, hacking into her computer and supplying a video link to her tied up boyfriend being laser shocked. Chord has Nick type in instructions to Jill including exposing her breasts and other indignities otherwise her boyfriend will not survive more shocks. The culmination of Chord’s game has him kidnapping Jill while Nick tries to save her but, thanks to the police closing in, must elude the authorities in the process.
Using some nifty technology – with the help of hackers who are admirers of a master hacker nicknamed “Nevada”, believing Nick to be him – in the form of mini spy cameras “Nevada” had with him, he’s able to get a lock on her in the trunk of a car. The chase is on to save the girl before its too late…
Open Windows is the latest gimmick movie that on its surface isn’t a bad idea but the execution was a bit lacking. What started off as a quasi-interesting premise became a little tedious and wore out my patience by the end in a film that probably could’ve been 15-minutes shorter and fewer contrivances with the plot. That said, there is a moment at the end that at least explains away the main character’s (played Elijah Wood) idiocy; it’s an utterly laughable moment but does explain some things with his decision making.
One of the more interesting tid-bits about this project is the casting of Sasha Grey as she attempts to break out of her adult (porn) career into the mainstream and honestly, she’s not half bad but hardly gets anything to work against with stilted dialogue and a plot that became more inane as the film went on. I don’t know if she’s any good or not, certainly can’t take anything away from this movie, however.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
The features are a tad light with only a basic Making of (15:51; HD) featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and cast/crew interviews, a Visual Effects Reel (1:44; HD) breaking down the VFX used and the Trailer (1:20; HD).
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Cinedigm distributes Open Windows on Blu-ray presented with a 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Because the film is entirely shown via what is supposed to be a webcam (or variety of webcams), it’s kind of difficult to judge, but for the most part the detail levels are decent while colors tend to be muted especially since the bulk of the film takes place at night.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is a bit limited but still has clear dialogue levels but the bulk of the audio is held through the center channel with there was some narrow usage for the rear speakers. Although not great, it’s still a fine lossless track suitable for a movie of this kind.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Open Windows, written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, The ABCs of Death, V/H/S: Viral), is more or less an experimental film that’s been done more than a few times with the entire picture taking place via a webcam, and although a nifty idea, the execution wasn’t the best. Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey are alright considering the material they got to work with but on the whole this is a one-and-done viewing.
The Blu-ray released by Cinedigm is limited with OK audio and video while the bonus material is forgettable.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.