REVIEW: At Granny’s House
– By Dave Dubrow
Written and directed by Les Mahoney, AT GRANNY’S HOUSE is a low-budget horror movie that manages to hit just about every mediocre-to-awful low-budget horror movie note:
- Terrible audio?
- Clunky, expository dialogue?
- Amateurish, inconsistent acting?
- Jarring scene transitions?
- Clumsy editing?
- Entirely unlikable characters?
- Plot only moves forward because the unlikable characters make stupid decisions?
- Several inexplicably positive reviews?
So now this is where I’m supposed to say, “But,” right? As in, “But it’s got a heart.” Or, “But the gore effects were really good.” Yeah, no. I can’t. There’s no but in this movie. However, there is a pair of boobs in it, and I’m not just talking about the main characters. Is that too triggering to mention in the #MeToo era?
The story’s about an old lady whose ass hole son hires a caretaker(I spelled “ass hole” with a space in the middle because it’s funnier that way),and said caretaker turns out to be a homicidal maniac. The caretaker is named Rebecca. The old lady is named Marion. She’s the “Granny” in the title, despite having no grandchildren. Yes, I know it’s a niggling detail. Nobody wants to watch a movie titled, At Old Lady With No Grandchildren’s House.Well,I didn’t want to watch a movie that was so poorly made, so we’re all suffering. Anyway, Rebecca has a case of the ass about rude people who spend a lot of time on their phones, so she sneaks into their room at night and murders them. Then she falls in love with a less-rude houseguest named Ted, played by writer/director Les Mahoney, and they become a murder couple together. With Granny/Not-Granny’s tacit approval.
Ted’s a real charmer, all dad bod and unsexy coital gruntings. How and why he and Rebecca fall instantly in love doesn’t make sense, other than that his movie wife is about twenty years younger than Rebecca and she’s on her phone a lot, which makes her someone worth killing. Apparently. Every exchange between the characters is fraught with a cringe-inducing awkwardness that makes the most squirm-worthy scenes in The Office feel like a casual evening at home with the family. Except for not being the least bit funny. Bill Oberst Jr. plays a brief role as a cop named Boarstag, but despite his best efforts, he can save neither the characters nor the movie.
There is one…I don’t know if you’d call it an innovation or quirk or stylistic technique or what, but when Rebecca or Ted are in bed, we are occasionally treated to what they’re thinking through projections displayed on the ceiling. I’ve never seen this done before. Perhaps if Scorsese or Fellini or Friedkin did it first I’d be expounding on its genius, but they didn’t. Because it’s dumb.
I guess the best thing I could say about At Granny’s House is that it represents a singular artist’s vision, and that the people involved in its production probably worked very hard on it. I’m sure they think it’s a fun film to watch. I just wish I could say I liked it. I can’t.