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Grandmother's House (1989)

DVD Cover (Simitar Video)
Director:
Peter Rader Peter Rader
Starring:
Eric Foster Eric Foster
Kim Valentine Kim Valentine
Len Lesser Len Lesser
Ida Lee Ida Lee
Brinke Stevens Brinke Stevens

5.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Slasher Film, Teen Horror, Thriller
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Review by Chad
Added: March 09, 2005
After their father dies, teens David (Eric Foster) and Lynn (Kim Valentine) go to live with their grandparents (Ida Lee and Len Lesser, better known for his role as Uncle Leo on Seinfeld) out on their farm. There's some awkward moments as the grandparents go on about how terrible it must be to have lost both parents at such young ages, but from there on, things start to go well for the first few days... David meets fellow teenie Raymond (Craig Yerman) and the two build up a friendship, while Lynn meets Kenny (Michael Robinson) and starts to fall in love with him. Things start to get odd, however, after David notices a strange woman (Brinke Stevens) outside his window one night, and it gets even odder when he notices the same woman watching him as he swims at the local pool. These oddities are soon outdone, however, after David accidentally witnesses Grandpa and Grandma carrying a human body down into the basement. If that wasn't enough to scar his precious little mind, Grandpa noticed that David saw what they were doing, and David noticed that Grandpa noticed. David runs up to his bedroom while Grandpa grabs his rifle and heads up to David's room in order to have a small chat with him... how will David escape? Why were they carrying a body down into the basement in the first place? Can David get to his sister in time? Who is that strange woman that keeps popping up, and what does she want? All of these questions and more are answered as the film progresses.

An excellent little thriller film is what we have here. The storyline presented is superb on its own, but the way it's played out just makes things even better. Everything that one could ask for from a thriller is presented here and done right... some bizarre happenings, an odd mystery, and a classic example of the who-can-you-trust scenario is played out. While all of these elements on their own do not necessarily a good movie make, the way that each part of the overall movie is handled to perfection gives us the end result of a damned good film. Another thing that really helps the film is the pace that the storyline moves along at. The director decided to not waste any time in getting down to the mysterious events, as we're treated to about ten minutes worth of character introduction before things get moving along. There's none of that "wait until an hour into the running time before doing anything interesting" junk that seems to be so prevalent in todays thriller films. The result of this pacing is a film that quickly builds a tense atmosphere around our characters, and doesn't let it up until the end credits start to roll. Doesn't let up at all, you may be wondering? Indeed so... again breaking from the traditional thriller mold, our feature film doesn't abide by the "build up a bit of atmosphere, then do a comedic relief scene" rule that also tends to plague most modern thrillers. In my view, this really kills the enjoyment of a good thriller film, but that problem is something that this movie does not suffer from.

This brings us to our cast for the movie at hand. While I'm normally not a fan of children playing lead roles in horror or thriller films, the two kids chosen for this movie did a great job. I have no clue as to their actual ages during the filming, but I'd guess that Eric Foster (David) was around fourteen years old while Kim Valentine (Lynn) clocked in at around sixteen. Even though their age was acting against them, the two managed to pull out performances that, while not flawless, certainly ran circles around a fair portion of the current crop of Hollywood child actors... or adult actors, for that matter. I did find it a bit odd that Kim Valentine's character was presented in such a sexual manner... I'd be shocked if she was eighteen-or-over when this was shot, but that does nothing to stop the director from giving plenty of T&A swimsuit shots (not exactly nudity, but damned revealing). If that wasn't enough, she ran around in a short skirt for the last half of the film, giving plenty of ass and panty-shots in the process. While this didn't hurt the film in any way, I just found it to be incredibly weird... this is definitely something that you wouldn't see in the films of today, regardless of genre.

Overall, this is definitely a movie to pick up if you're a fan of thrillers. Don't be fooled by that eighties release date... with the exception of some music, the movie doesn't seem dated at all, and even if it did, the greatness surrounding the rest of the film more than makes up for it. 9/10.
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