Open Windows (2014)
Open Windows is the latest film from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo who previously directed segments for the first ABCs Of Death and VHS:Viral, the 2011 sci-fi comedy Extra-terrestrial and the should-be-cult-classic time travel horror Timecrimes.
It stars Elijah Wood (The Faculty, Lord Of The Rings, Sin City, Maniac), Sasha Grey (Smash Cut, tv's Entourage, Would You Rather) and Neil Maskell ( Doghouse, Kill List, Piggy,
The ABCs Of Death)
The film starts off with sexy superstar Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey) attending a film festival where they are holding a Q&A and special screening of the trailer for her latest movie Dark Sky: The Third Wave. (Dark Sky looks like a cheesy b-movie, like Edgar Wright's The World's End if The Asylum ripped it off. I'd totally watch that, especially with Sasha in it!) Meanwhile the event is being filmed and streamed live on the internet and being watched by Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood) from his hotel room. Nick is her biggest fan and even runs the fan site Jillgoddard-caught.com, now he's preparing to meet her for dinner in a blog contest that he won. Nick then gets a strange online call from a man called Chord (Neil Maskell) who seems to know a lot about him including the fact that Jill had just cancelled her dinner with him for no other reason than being a bitch. Chord then sends a link to Nick who enables him to view everything in her phone and even see through its camera. They both listen in on a conversation between her and her agent and hear that she's blowing off the after party to rendezvous with her agent at a hotel room. Turns out they're meeting at the same hotel as Nick, their room being right across from his. Chord seems to be able to get access to everything and even has a high powered night-vision camera already placed in Nick's room which he gets him to set up facing directly into their room so they can see everything. Jill and her agent argue and she leaves and when the lights in Nick's room come on accidentally her agent sees straight across at the camera, rings reception to find out the number of the room then goes to investigate. As Nick panics it seems that Chord had a plan all along as he has a taser stashed in the room which Nick uses to knock the guy out when he enters the room. With access to every security camera in the hotel which he displays on Nick's laptop he then guides him out of the hotel without being caught in a scene I found similar to Morpheus guiding Neo out of his workplace via cellphone in The Matrix or Will Smith being guided around in Enemy Of The State. Chord then leads Nick to Jill's apartment where he accesses her webcam and forces Nick to torment her while she watches her agent being tortured via webcam and Chord is creeping around in the background waiting to pounce on her. Now its up to Nick with the help of some uber-hackers to stop Chord and save Jill from a fate worse than the characters in her movies....
Open Windows may not be a straight up horror but its a fast-paced dark thriller with horror elements. Fans of slasher movies and hostage movies should definitely enjoy it. Its style is original to say the least and the title Open Windows is really appropriate, the whole film is shown through the various different open windows on Elijah Wood's character's laptop screen showing cam-links to numerous locations and characters in the film. This is like found footage switched up to the max for the internet generation we live in today and it couldn't have come out at a more appropriate time with the trend of voyeurism and scandals of leaked celebrity photos and sex tapes ( the most recent being nicknamed "The Fappening").
Both main stars put in solid performances, Wood is his usual awkward geeky but likable self and Grey is her usual bitchy but hot self - I'd like to see her play a likable girl next door type for a change. While I am sad that Sasha has retired from porn to concentrate on her acting career I am happy that she's been starring mostly in horror films so far. (Plus I have most of her back catalogue to tie me over hee hee) It’s also nice to see Neil Maskell starring in something other than a British production, honestly I didn't even realise it was him until he took his mask off towards the end and I spent the entire film before that wondering "who's familiar voice is that?" Hopefully director Nacho Vigalondo gets the recognition he deserves from this, his 'A Is For Apocalypse' in The ABCs Of Death was one of my favourite segments and I really loved his film Timecrimes which I think is criminally underrated (like a cross between the 2004 film Primer and Christopher Smith's 2009 film Triangle). While Open Windows had me on the edge of my seat for the first hour or so it did seem a bit too long and dragged a bit towards the end, it got a bit confusing but there was a twist that evened everything out and finished up nicely. I look forward to seeing more from Vigalondo in the future.