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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Open Windows

January 25th, 2015

Open Windows - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Open Windows is an English-language, Spanish thriller starring Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey. Elijah Wood was part of one of the biggest franchises ever, but since then he plays in mostly smaller movies, most of which struggle to find an audience in theaters. For instance, he was really good in Grand Piano. Is this another great film that deserves to be discovered on the home market? Or is there a legitimate reason it struggled in theaters?

The Movie

The movie begins with some really bad acting and a supernatural killer armed with a bowling ball. But don't worry, as this is Dark Sky, a movie-within-a-movie, one starring Jill Goddard, who is on a comic con panel promoting the film. While he's not at the event, Nick Chambers is watching at home over the internet. While watching he gets an e-mail from the contest he won and they need him to record a video introduction for Jill to see. After recording it, he gets a phone call from Simon Chord telling him that there's been a mistake and that the contest was canceled. While they are on the phone together, Chord is able to move the camera that is streaming the event. He then gives Nick full access to Jill's phone telling Nick that Jill is the one who canceled the contest at the last minute.

Soon this invasion of privacy turns into much more when Nick learns Jill is having an affair with her manager, Tony, despite dating her co-star. This is when Chord tells Nick he's giving him access to all of Jill's private life to get revenge for her screwing over nice guys like Nick. Chord instructs Nick to set up a camera so he can see into the room where Jill and Tony are meeting, so that he can record it. He won't be seen with the lights out. However, before anything happens over there, the lights turn on and Tony sees Nick and the Camera. Now he's heading over and Nick panics asking Chord for help.

Can Chord help Nick? And what is Chord's real motivation?

Has there been a recent movie about hackers that was good? War Games is an awesome movie, but that came out more than 30 years ago. I think it is really hard to write a good hacker movie for two reasons. Firstly, most screenwriters don't know what hackers actually do. And secondly, what hackers actually do is not very cinematic. In order to compensate for that, we get films like Open Windows that try to add too much style. The movie is filled with computer screens with multiple windows open for a pseudo-split screen look to it, while the screen writer crammed the script with way too many twists. It didn't take long before the plot contrivances lost me, but not because they were too confusing. The movie is a mess, but that's not why the movie lost me. The real problem wasn't that I couldn't follow the movie, but that very quickly I lost any motivation to follow the movie. Elijah Wood has performed roles like this in the past and he's good here, but the character just wasn't that engaging. Chord didn't develop much beyond a disembodied voice over the internet and by the time we did learn more about him, I had long since stopped caring. Sasha Grey continues to make the transition from adult film star to mainstream actress and she does have enough talent to do so. I just hope she gets better roles.

The Extras

There are two featurettes on the Blu-ray, the first is a 16-minute making of featurette and the second is a two-minute look at the special effects. That's not enough to add serious value to the Blu-ray.

The film's technical presentation is good, but not among the best I've seen. It was shot digitally, but a lot of it is watching a computer screener or made to look like it was shot on a consumer level cameras, so the video doesn't get a chance to real shine. When it is as its best, it does look good. The audio is good, but not great. It is clear, but there's not a ton of activity in the surround sound speakers.

The Blu-ray costs just $14, which is 36% more than the DVD.

The Verdict

Open Windows crams too much into the script and too much onto the screen and it quickly wore me down to the point I no longer cared. The DVD and Blu-ray are not devoid of extras, but there are not enough here to warrant anything more than a rental. And it is only worth a rental, if you really like the cast.

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Filed under: Video Review, Open Windows, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Ivan Gonzalez, Neil Maskell