Les Mahoney explored wrote, directed and played an important role in the film as he took a real-life situation of tragedy plaguing many elderly people, rising costs, scammed and abuse, and turns it into a thriller and homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). At Granny’s House, distributed by Indie Rights, delivers a solid story, but not necessary a horror movie, as many of the aspects follow the pattern of cutting away from the gruesomeness when it happens. His film does start with a curious introduction to that will have future guests to one’s home making sure they never overstay their welcome.
An elderly woman Marion (Glenda Morgan Brown) reluctantly accepts Rebecca (Rachel Alig (Ghostline (2015)) hired by her son, Frank Rogers (Bryant Watts) as a live-in caregiver, who appears as friendly, but something powerfully vicious hides behind her knowingly glances. After awkward silences and odd moments, all in subtle battle of control, Rebecca convinces Marion that they should offer free accommodations to travelers online at MyFreeBed.com. It’s here the real story starts, the intentions of Rebecca become very apparent and with deadly consequences. They welcome in visitors, which for one reason or another infuriates Rebecca, and later she and Marion start a deeper bond over the dislike of people more focusing on their cellphones than conversing with each other. Marion, though begins to have a change heart and what the excitement of new people could bring to their lives but feels mistreated in her own home. The guests mysteriously leaving in the middle of the night, how Rebecca covers their tracks, quite inventful, yet their advertisement on the website receiving glowing remarks. That’s until the Steiners, Ted (Mahoney) and Linda (Laura Lee), two computer gurus, though Linda is obsessed with her phone and Ted begins a dangerous love affair Rebecca, which infuriates Marion, and results in Linda going bye-bye. A series of twists and turns occur into the second half of the film, namely a special appearance of Bill Oberst Jr. as Lavrans Boarstag an investigator, his presence brings a very heightened moment of tension.
Many of the elements in the film clearly show Les’ interest and a fan of the Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, namely private detective’s name Boarstag, an anagram of Arbogast, the investigator in “Psycho”. Allow for a moment to stay on the character Boartag (clever enough) his questioning of Rebecca and Marion very eerily similar to the conversation between Arbogast and Norman in the lobby of the Bates Motel. Then of course the name Rebecca references to the famed movie of the same name, along with a room decorated with taxidermy birds of prey and even Marion’s name that Janet Leigh’s character uses in Psycho. Now, that’s not all them you’ll need to watch it to discover the rest on your own.
The characters/individuals seem to handle their roles well, it’s at times the dialogue that appears very wooden, reciting the lines rather that portraying it all with fluid ebb and flow, likely due to the time constraints and lack of rehearsals. Oberst definitely steals the show for his small but significant contribution. The audio varies greatly with either too quiet or too loud, this affects the long silent scenes that present visual images, not a fluid smoothness, it appears Mahoney tries to recreate an element from another movie of Alfred’s called Rope (1948).
The movie reminds me a little of Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) with the nice little body count and fun lighthearted performances. Overall, not a terribly bad film, however it’s one thing to pay homage to any director, and in this case very admirable Mahoney chose the Master of Suspense but would like to have seen some of his own thought processes as the story contains a few different options to explore. Although, for the modern audiences, truly unsure how many actually discover all the cues to Hitch, with looking at the Trivia portion on IMDb. Mel Brooks’ likely gave the best homage to Alfred, with his film High Anxiety (1977), which referenced many of the Master’s films not just one such as Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and yes Psycho. Even director Steve Miner of Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) did a clever nod to Hitchcock, yet these two directors, kept true to themselves and created their own films for fans to enjoy. Therefore, one needs to understand that admiration carried too far, ruins the mischievous design of their film.
IMDb Rating: 5.4/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10
Tagline: Love hurts.