I’m just going to come right out and say it, I am a huge fan of Nacho Vigalondo. He made one of the best “time travel” movies of all time, with Timecrimes in 2007. Since then, he has been involved with mostly horror anthology films, such as his segment ABCs of Death segment, A is for Apocalypse, and his segment titled Sins of the Father, for the STILL unreleased Profane Exhibit. For right now, we’ll focus on Nacho V’s high-tech, LSD-inspired love letter to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Open Windows, starring Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey. I compare the film to Rear Window, because the influence is apparent. In all reality though, only the core concept of the film is borrowed, and used as a building block to form a complex, technological game of cat and mouse. The story would have you believe that this is simply about a blogger named Nick(Wood) and his adoration for a movie star named Jill Goddard(Grey). The setup is, he has won some sort of contest because of his blogs about the actress, and has been awarded the opportunity to have a dinner/interview with Goddard. When he receives a strange call on his computer, things become much more difficult than that.
From the PR:
Oscar®-nominated writer-director Nacho Vigalondo (The ABCs of Death, Timecrimes, V/H/S Viral) creates an action-packed world of voyeurism and suspense in his thriller OPEN WINDOWS. Nick (Elijah Wood, Maniac, The Lord of the Rings) is excited to discover that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite actress, Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey, Would You Rather, The Girlfriend Experience). But when Jill refuses to honor the contest, her manager Chord (Neil Maskell, Wild Bill, Pusher) makes an offer he can’t refuse: the ability to view Jill secretly via computer. Nick begins watching the unknowing star on her webcam, not realizing that this decision will put both himself and Jill at risk as they enter a terrifying world of cat-and-mouse where nothing—and no one—are as they seem.
Wood really is diving headfirst into the world of genre films. He wowed us as the title character in the Maniac remake last year, blew those of us that cared enough to watch it away in Grand Piano, and we’ll be seeing his horror chops again soon in Cooties. You can’t deny that Wood is a well-rounded actor, that has displayed a tremendous amount of versatility in the projects he chooses. Much is the same in Open Windows. Similar to Maniac, you really don’t get a lot of Wood on-screen here, with much of the film being presented in either first person ala GoPro, or through the various devices that the ominous “bad guy” in the film hacks into to help him execute his agenda. Sasha Grey catches a lot of flack, mostly because of her background in porn, but she’s proven herself enough for me to take her seriously, and she does a good job with he role in this film. If you’re tuning in in hopes of graphic nudity and sexuality, you’re not going to get much of that. You do get Grey topless for a brief moment, but the scene itself is anything but sensual. This isn’t that type of film, anyway, and at the pace in which the events unfold, who has time for that anyway?
Open Windows turned out to be a better film than I expected it to be, which is always a great surprise. Though it fits a little neater within the confines of a technologically-driven Sci-Fi/Thriller, I can see it working on horror fans as well. It’s not blood and guts, nor is it non-stop monster action, but the scope of the master plot is large enough that it could chill one to the bone, knowing that there are government agencies right now that have similar technology. Knowing that somebody could be watching me as I type this review is an eerie thought. Vigalondo does well to tap into that very real fear, and wrap it up in a slick, nail-biting package, in a way that only he could. Timecrimes is still his best film in my eyes, but I’m glad to see he’s still pumping them out. I can’t wait until he becomes more of a household name, but in the meantime, I will track his career as closely as the antagonist of this film. Open Windows is on the various VOD platforms starting TODAY, and will launch a limited theatrical run on 10/7.