Monday, November 21, 2022

You're Tearing Me Apart, Grandma

It's no secret that I love any story centered on the elderly, particularly if it involves murder. Title your film "At Granny's House" and throw it in the basement of Amazon Prime and I'm there. 

Quick Plot: Marion is an elderly* widow living alone in a roomy house that worries her busy workaholic son. To help prevent any dangerous falls, he hires an in-home caretaker then, it would seem, flees the country, never to be seen again.

*Age looks different on everyone, but Marion seems pretty spry for someone who talks about quartering soldiers during "The War"

At first, Marion is a bit cold towards Rebecca, the enthusiastic IT professional-turned-home-health-aide pushing a decaf and oatmeal lifestyle on her charge. They warm up to each other quickly, and soon, Rebecca has Marion convinced that what they really need in their life is to let wandering strangers spend the night in the guest room via "". 


Why, you might ask, is Rebecca so eager to meet financially challenged travelers? Don't ask the movie, which doesn't really have an opinion on the matter. She's bored by the first visitor, a pleasant musician, but the next one to come along commits the cardinal sin of talking on his cell phone during a conversation and well, that means murder!

And that's what happens? A few more individuals pass through. Some leave safely, while others--those who dare answer a text--meet the wrath of Rebecca via the wrong end of a poisoned needle. Marion seems to not notice any of this. 

Things get a tad more complicated when the Steiners stop by. Ted works in IT (cue the instant chemistry) while Linda is between nonprofit jobs. Ted immediately wants to bone Rebecca, while Linda might want to bone her phone. You know how this goes!

Ted joins Rebecca down her homicidal path, convincing Marion that Linda has left him. Marion seems to have no issue with her paid health aide suddenly taking a live-in lover, but when he steals the TV for Seinfeld reruns during her newshour, it's clear that this arrangement won't last long. An investigator shows up shortly after because, shocker, everything points to this house being Linda's last known location and believe it or not, people do actually notice it when someone they know disappears off the face of the earth. 

I realize I've given a lot more detailed a plot description than I normally do for reviews, but there's a reason for it: this movie's story is bizarre. At Granny's House is sort of what The Room might have been if Tommy Wiseau was an actual human being of this earth. There's a lot of sex (involving the writer/director Les Mahoney as Ted, no less) and no clear consistency in character motivation whatsoever. The movie also seems to take place in some slightly alien setting slightly left of our reality: set somewhere in the midwest in a state that has the death penalty, but also in a reality where IT professionals wouldn't think to adjust their IP address when murdering DOZENS of people who have an internet profile directly connecting their last stop as this graveyard of a house. 

There's a lot going on here.

As Rebecca, poor Rachel Alig has to play a bloodthirsty woman who has no center whatsoever. She hates cell phones but loves Ted, a slug of a man who I guess is just really good in bed? Glenda Morgan Brown seems up for the challenge of Marion, but like Rebecca, the movie can't decide what's going on in her head. Is she really losing it? Is she faking slight senior moments to regain control? If she's really as much a sociopath as Rebecca, why put up with Ted stealing her chair at all?

I'm asking a lot of questions. There are dozens more that go unanswered. And honestly, that's something that will keep At Granny's House in my memory longer than many a less-than-stellar genre film. So I can't say this gave me nothing!

High Points
Credit to the cast: they certainly try

Low Points
I've said enough about the actual quality of the movie to now address the REAL issue at play: nowhere in this film's scant running time do we see or hear evidence that Marion has grandchildren, SO WHY IS THIS CALLED AT GRANNY'S HOUSE? Not since Orphan: First Kill have I been so angry at a movie's choice of title words

Lessons Learned
If you hire people every day, you should know better to call an applicant "a pretty girl" during her interview

People who get nonprofit overseas jobs fall off the grid and ignore their friends and families alllll the time

Nothing will bond two generations of women closer than a shared enjoyment of "The Oprah Magazine"

At Granny's House was clearly made by clipping a whole lot of coupons. It's not traditionally good in almost any sense, but those who love tilting their heads at character decisions with a "huh?" moment of utter confusion will surely have a good time. Find it streaming on Amazon Prime!

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