We all saw the commercials for this, and hell, even the title of the movie is a spoiler alert! A guy (Dennis Quaid) sells his house to a couple and then terrorizes them. I think what would’ve been more terrifying is buying a home from Dennis, and then finding out his brother Randy was squatting in the granny flat in the back. Oh, and when the movie starts with them making the deal on the house, I was a bit confused. A couple just rolls up and starts walking around the grounds, and is almost shot by Quaid. He’s tracking a deer in the woods out back. He tells them the price is $3.5 million. The husband balks, and Quaid lowers it to $3.2 because “I want you to have this house.”
How is there no real estate agent or lawyer involved in a transaction of a home this expensive? Oh don’t worry, those will be the least of your quibbles.
Surprisingly, the first third of the movie was enjoyable (aside from all the folks in the audience that felt the need to have conversations; it’s a bit more acceptable when things got ridiculous and they wanted to shout things at the screen). The young couple buying the home is played nicely by Michael Ealy and Meagan Good. A handsome couple with a lot of chemistry, and when a few fights start up between them — it makes perfect sense. He doesn’t want her to invite Charlie (Dennis Quaid) over any more. She’s concerned about him sending a text from work (when he’s really having drinks with an attractive client). It felt like a real life couple. Now, the two they’re best friends with, made absolutely no sense. They didn’t seem to feel like real friends. A better script would’ve taken care of that. And when things happen later in the movie with that character (which I can’t explain without spoiling)…it made no sense.
It’s a blast watching Charlie go crazy. He has a smile that’s huge and exaggerated. It was like he was channeling Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell, and a Cheshire cat. Quaid was chewing up all the scenery. A few different times, you’ll even think of The Shining. It also makes sense why this woman would feel sympathy for him. He’s a widower and rather attached to a house that’s been in his family for so long. So when he offers to bring pies over for Thanksgiving, how can she refuse? Of course, it’s a movie Thanksgiving, so instead of 25 family members, it’s merely the two best friends sitting at the table, and witnessing how weird Charlie is when it comes to any changes they want to make to the home.
My wife and I had a blast pointing out all the tropes to each other. For example, when she goes to take a bath (don’t they always in these movies?)…she let herself sink underneath the water. My wife said, “Oh, come on. Who does that in the bath?”
There was some dark humor that worked. I liked when the two friends were going through the woods to see if they could find Charlie snooping on them and one says, “This is some Scooby-Doo sh**t!”
Many times though, I thought of lines that could’ve been funnier. One after a scene in which Charlie carries a dead deer over his shoulder.
What’s so frustrating about these movies is that they could be good. We all loved Fatal Attraction (which had one of those bath scenes I referred to earlier). That was a terrific film.
Regarding guys that go crazy and stalk people, it’s always promising when a good actor is cast — Samuel Jackson in Lakeview Terrace or Kurt Russell and Ray Liotta in Unlawful Entry (both films had the crazy guys being police officers). You think movies with big names would be better than the usual, because why else would an A-list actor do the film. Well, one word: paycheck. Although, having great actors usually makes the movie a bit better than most of the same type in this genre, and that’s why this gets 2 stars out of 5.