The home invasion sub-genre has been spun more than a few times in Hollywood. With The Owners from co-writer and director Julius Berg, a complete subversion takes the concept of expecting the unexpected a little too far.
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones fame headlines a rather short cast list that by virtue of simple math eliminates a series of grizzly deaths. Make no mistake; there is death, and the fun in trying to figure out who will live and who won’t is alive and well.
For Williams, her character is literally and figuratively along for the ride. When her boyfriend decides to change their family’s ill financial fortunes around by robbing an old couple, she’s stuck tagging along.
The problem with Williams’ character Mary, her boyfriend Nathan, friend with the inside scoop Terry, and Nathan’s off-his-rocker friend Gaz is that they aren’t particularly likable. You don’t really want any of them to survive their ordeal.
Maybe that’s the point. The real stars of The Owners are the title’s namesakes: Dr. Richard Huggins and his nurse, Ellen. Both are more than meets the eye as the Doctor lives up to his name and Ellen’s dementia is a factory for one-liners.
Both of these owners — Ellen especially – are campy at times and over-the-top. That fun injected by actors Sylvester McCoy and Rita Tushingham offers some brightness in the otherwise grim proceedings.
In subverting the sub-genre where the invaders become the victims, Berg injects twists and turns that spiral out of control into a bit of a nonsensical mess. How is an elderly couple able to out-maneuver youths for so long? Outsmart, sure. But they aren’t Olympians.
A big twist at the end doesn’t feel particularly necessary other than to payoff an equally unnecessary character plot point from earlier. Sometimes maybe only the good should die young without force-feeding a payoff.
The Blu-ray, or Digital format for that matter, follows Berg’s editing choice that switches from widescreen to 1.33:1 format full-screen in the latter half. I can only imagine this artistic choice was to drum up more tension ALA a old discovered home video. All it does is distract and make you wish it would go away.
A single featurette, ‘The Making of The Owners’, is included but doesn’t subvert bonus feature templates and add depth to the feature.
The Owners Blu-ray and DVD release date is October 20th, 2020 in North America.
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