The Owners review – OAP burglars get more than they bargained for | Film

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This nifty thriller, set mostly in a grand manor house deep in the British countryside, has an impressively evil streak and a clever twist or two that perhaps are not hard to see coming if you’re experienced in the genre. Even so, director Julius Berg, who has worked mostly in French TV and makes his feature debut here, has a knack for ratcheting up suspense and finessing the technicalities in order to maximise the creepiness. For example, the sound design (by Ben Baird) is outstanding, an almost palpable entity that shimmers with synthesiser drones and distorted noises generated by the plot. Elsewhere, when the violence and anxiety reaches its zenith, the film switches aspect ratio to a boxy, nearly square format, heightening the claustrophobia; it’s the sort of thing you might not notice at first but affects the viewing experience in subtle ways.

The idea is that three local no-hopers with varying degrees of criminal aspiration plan on burgling the home of Dr Richard and Mrs Ellen Huggins (Sylvester McCoy and Rita Tushingham), a cuddly pair of old dears. Chunky dimwit Terry (Andrew Ellis), the son of the Huggins’s cleaner, has heard they’ve got a huge stash of cash and valuables in the house, and has tipped off his harder, meaner friend Nathan (Ian Kenny) – who has brought along even nastier Gaz (Jake Curran, sporting a truly evil mullet and white dreadlock hairdo). But the sudden appearance of Nathan’s girlfriend, Mary (Maisie Williams), annoyed because Nathan has taken her car and she needs to get to work, throws the plan off kilter, as does the unexpected return of the owners of the property.

The young cast are pretty good, but seasoned players McCoy and Tushingham are the real scene stealers, especially Tushingham with those still-wondrous marble blue eyes, just as mesmerising as they were back in the day when she was a British It girl, starring in A Taste of Honey and The Knack … and How to Get It.

Available from 22 February on digital platforms.

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Source: The Guardian
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