The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.


Open WindowsTitle: Open Windows (2014)
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Runtime: 100 minutes

Acting
Elijah Wood delivers a rather lifeless performance here, which is surprising considering his previous work in Maniac and Grand Piano. The best aspect of Open Windows has to be Sasha Grey, who shows off some fine acting chops. I discovered afterwards that she is an ex-porn star, which also explains the nudity in the film, which is perhaps the only other redeeming factor in Open Windows.

Story & Script
Nick is excited to discover that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite actress, Jill Goddard. But when Jill refuses to honor the contest, her manager Chord makes Nick 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.

This really does sound fantastic. Except it isn’t, and I don’t even know where to begin with where they went wrong. The film plays out as if it’s on a computer monitor. You see many open windows, hence the name of the film. It’s easy enough to follow, and it works until the film goes on the run and the interaction just becomes silly. Maybe I would have enjoyed this more if someone, anyone, had one redeeming quality about them. You never care about Nick, who comes off as a slime ball for the entire film, and Jill has a few key words reserved for her general attitude and they aren’t safe for this review.

Direction
Nacho Vigalondo directs, and his previous works are two short films. One in the film ABC’s of Death, and the other is Parallel Monsters from V/H/S/ Viral, which is the highlight of that film. So imagine my disappointment when Open Windows ended. While there are some great plot points, which I won’t spoil, the film just drags on for too long. It becomes so unbelievable that when things get turned on their head, I just didn’t care because the gimmick had worn off on me, which is a shame because somewhere in here is a fun story to tell

Intangibles
Nothing. Squat. Zilch.

Rewatchability
I will never watch Open Windows again. While the nudity is the highlight, it too loses its luster when you realize it is a former porn star who has been nude on film thousands of times previously. Open Windows is a sloppy, boring ride that ultimately lost me. Thankfully I watched this on Netflix instead of buying it, which I almost did when it was released.

The Verdict
Elijah Wood is smart when it comes to roles and his own film studio. He was fantastic in Maniac, which I highly recommend checking out. However, I don’t know what the hell anyone was thinking when they signed on to do Open Windows, which some are dubbing “The 21st Century Rear Window“. This monicker is an insult to the Hitchcock classic because Open Windows is awful. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why a film goes Direct-to-Video, and others get theatrical release. This is a fine example of why a film might go DTV, and I’m sad because the cast should have been better, and there’s a good director behind the project. Unfortunately, nothing else works. I’d pass on this one entirely.

one_star

Chris Ranson
Film Critic at Cinefessions

Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He’s been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.