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Film Review: At Granny’s House (2015)

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SYNOPSIS:

Marion Rogers (Granny), an elderly lady in the small town of Haley, reluctantly accepts the mysterious Rebecca Torrance as her live-in caregiver, but eventually the two form a strong friendship. Rebecca soon sells Granny on the idea of turning the house into a guest house for travelers looking for free accommodations., which, in turn, leads to revealing Rebecca’s dark and fatal secret. A strange love triangle forms when Rebecca and Ted, a guest at the house, fall in love. This leads to a violent confrontation that will forever change the lives of all the residents AT GRANNY’S HOUSE. A typical Midwest house. A sweet little old lady. When a caretaker moves in to help out, Granny’s House becomes a macabre place of death – and love.

REVIEW:

At Granny’s House movie follows the story of Marion, an elderly woman who has been living on her own until her son insists on hiring someone to be a live-in caretaker. Marion (Glenda Morgan Brown) is understandably against the idea. While she’s had a health scare or two, she believes she’s quite capable of taking care of herself. When her son hires the hires an attractive young woman named Rebecca (Rachel Alig) as Marion’s caregiver, she’s suspects there’s an ulterior motive for her son’s actions.

Rebecca is quite aware of Marion’s feelings and makes a concerted effort to make a connection. She’s successful and manages to strike up a friendship with with the older woman. As the two become closer, Rebecca comes up with the idea of offering one of the spare rooms as place to stay for travelers. She sees it as a way of meeting new people. After some coaxing, Marion agrees to the plan and lets Rebecca place an ad on a website. It doesn’t take long for weary travelers to answer the ad, and it takes even less time for Rebecca’s dark side to come out. Whenever someone staying over is overtly rude, the young woman murders them in the middle of the night and hides the evidence so that not even Marion is aware of what’s going on.

Complications arise when a married couple stays with them.The husband, Ted (Les Mahoney, who also directed), feel an immediate attraction to Rebecca. He falls for her charms quickly, and is easily goaded into killing his wife. Ted quickly descends into the same madness that has claimed Rebecca, going so far as to help her kill some of the more detestable folks who decide to stay in the spare room. Everything’s going great until the arrival of a private detective hired to find Ted’s wife shows up asking all kinds of questions. After the detective’s visit, underlying tensions between Ted, Rebecca, and Marion, start coming to a head.

Don’t go into this movie expecting a full blown horror flick. This is a movie meant to be a suspense thriller, and for the most part it’s a pretty decent one. Marion, Rebecca, and Ted form a very strange triangle (not a love triangle since Marion has no interest in the man). Ted may be at the center, but the true wild card is Rebecca. She’s the one that started him down the path of being a murderer, and she’s the hardest to predict. When things starts to reach a breaking point, the question becomes whether she’ll side with Marion, who she has genuine affection for, or Ted, who she’s in love with?

The sad thing is that the answer to that question is given to you right at the very beginning. Because of that, any source of tension surrounding Rebecca’s ultimate decision is ruined. You already know what choice she’s ultimately going to make, so it’s there’s no real mystery. It’s a surprising storytelling choice by Les Mahoney that undercuts whatever he’s hoping to accomplish with the finished product. It’s a shame, because there’s a lot of good to be had here.

The three main leads, Alig, Mahoney, and Brown, all provide solid performances. Mahoney does a great job of giving his character the right kind of boorishness and selfishness that makes it easy to see how he’d be willing to kill his wife for a younger woman. Glenda Morgan Brown was fantastic as Marion, providing a sense of grace to her role. Rachel Alig was the surprise here. She was able to portray a mentally unbalanced person without ever going over the top, providing nuance and range that helped make Rebecca seem like a real person.

Despite the massive flaw of giving away too much of the movie’s resolution at the beginning, there’s still some fairly tense moments to be had here with some solid acting. I think At Granny’s House is worth checking out at least once.

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