Movie Review: The Owners15th December 2020
For the remaining fans of Game of Thrones out there, The Owners may interest you. A stark reminder that success in one medium does not guarantee a smooth transition to the other, with Maisie Williams leading a miserably mediocre blend of thriller and horror tropes. Williams isn’t the only television actor looking to shoulder their way into the big screen triumphs, though, as former Time Lord and wizard Sylvester McCoy attempts to break free from the typecast of his career, providing the vile ballast necessary for a feature film focused on a group of teenagers robbing an elderly couple. Horrors set in houses seems to be a bit of a theme for this year, and, surprisingly, The Owners isn’t the worst of them.
Far from the great high’s director Julius Berg will have wanted for his rather simplistic plot, The Owners gets off to an immediately shaky start. Initially serving as a heist film, our ragtag group of thieves attempt to break their way into a safe in the cellar of a grand mansion. The décor and range of objects settling into the shadowed corners of this plot of land remind me vaguely of Sleuth. By no means are the two comparable in anything but vague reminiscent tones of ornamentation. Nothing else offered by Berg and his cast come anywhere close to replicating the mystifying collaboration of Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. We’re closer to the re-hash with Jude Law and Caine than anything else.
There are resoundingly few positives to draw upon with The Owners. Performed competently, but so are most projects these days. It never goes beyond acceptable levels, toeing the line of average for the whole of its running time. Everything is in the right place, it all comes together well enough, but I’m not convinced Berg and his team are set on crafting something that goes the extra mile to excite or entice a fresh audience. Nothing strikes me as creative or unique, a momentary sign of life is nowhere to be found, a drastic loss considering the varying talents involved in the creation of a film too afraid to try something left of field.
Not awful for a debut, but there are better ways to leave a mark on an audience’s mind than relying on washed-up BBC stars of yester-year. The Owners will not prevail in its reasoned approach to the chilling gore of the thriller genre. A plodding story that takes us nowhere we’ve not been a thousand times before, characters that are mere shadows of the stereotypes they look to embody. A sad shame, but an expected one at that. Nobody was expecting anything huge from a film whose poster encapsulates its generic emptiness.