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Film4 Frightfest: Open Windows review

Sasha Grey and Elijah Wood tackle cyber terror in this competent thriller.

After he wins a dinner date with popular actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey), Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood) patiently waits for her in his hotel suite. But when word gets to him at the eleventh hour that Jill cancelled their competition prize at the last minute, Nick is devastated. That is until a man who he believes works for Jill contacts him with some exciting exclusive gossip that he can run on his Jill Goddard fan-site. Before long, this gossip escalates into a full-scale abduction and forces Nick into a race against time to clear his name.

Open Windows takes our love of technology and brings into kicking and screaming into the world of cyber-horror. By having practically the entire movie take place on the screen of a laptop is a masterstroke. The way it changes direction and focus should be applauded, especially given the restraints of the format. Open Windows never feels like a gimmick but there are questionable directions that affect your overall enjoyment and don’t allow the film to fully flourish.

open windows

Elijah Wood is the films’ brightest spark and it’s his charisma, charm and star-power that keeps you invested in this story. Enjoying something of a career resurgence in the horror genre, Wood is excellent and makes this worth of your time. Adult movie start Sasha Grey also does exceptionally well and hands in a subtle but affecting performance that deserves a lot of praise.

More thriller than out-and-out horror, Open Windows creates plenty of memorable jolts and makes cyber terror cool again (something we never thought we’d see happen).There’s even the odd dash of comedy, mainly stemming from Chord, the mysterious caller’s, responses and demands. Neil Maskell from Kill List obliges here, but his cockney accent does occasionally raise some unintentional laughs.

open windows

Open Windows has a clever concept but it’s reliance on unbelievable circumstance and some character choices that defy logic really taint the overall enjoyment. There’s little doubt that the concept and style of Open Windows is very clever, astutely modern and thoroughly engaging but it still needed to have a much better end product.

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