2015’s At Granny’s House is an interesting and offbeat indie horror flick. Definitely a slow burn, the film focuses on Rebecca (Rachel Alig), an in-home caretaker for the sweet but feisty elderly Marion (Glenda Morgan Brown). Set in the small any town USA of Halsey, the plot hinges on the evolution of their relationship. The two women bond over things like O Magazine, learning new technology, and a little bit of murder. It is when they decide to open the doors to strangers by posting on an Airbnb-style website that things get crazy.
The violence is effective without being over the top. Thanks to a dark noir feel, there are enough twists and surprises to keep the audience guessing.
The film is the full-length directorial debut of Les Mahoney. Mahoney also wrote and stars in the film. If his costars are guilty of occasionally stiff acting, Mahoney more than makes up for it with his portrayal of a hapless and unsettling love interest for Rebecca. Also, Bill Oberst Jr. steals every scene he is in playing a typical, but never too cliché, detective peeled straight from the pages of a hardboiled detective novel.
At Granny’s House is very much character driven. Redundancy and subtly drive the plot. We spend much of the film sitting at Marion’s dining room table, where tensions are built through nuanced interactions between the main characters. Glances, slight comments, and gaps of silence create nearly palpable hostilities and leave the audience with an uneasy feeling that never stops.
What really gives the movie some weight are the interesting themes it attempts to explore. The first half of the film toys with notions of forgetting those we love, as Marion’s son is quick to pawn her off on a stranger. Also, the story is delicate in its dealing with the struggles of maintaining dignity while growing old. These are themes we do not see every day in horror. There is a lot of heart not only in the exploration of these topics, but also in the complicated relationships that evolve through the film. Also, thanks to some strong plays on the problems with technology in relationships, you will find yourself rooting for the bad guys quite often.
Although perhaps guilty of biting off more than it can chew, At Granny’s House does leave you with a lot of food for thought, which is always welcome. This is a fun watch, especially for any fans of noir, Hitchcock and psychological horror.
At Granny’s House is now available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Vimeo. Check out the trailer below:
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