The Owners (2020)

A band of robbers are in for a very long night in this thrilling adaptation of a French graphic novel, courtesy of filmmaker Julius Berg.

Nathan, Terry, and Gaz are a trio of robbers who plan a heist that will take them of a prominent doctor’s home while he is out with his wife. However, for the getaway car, they are relying on Nathan’s girlfriend Mary. Mary has to work so she tells the boys to hurry up with it so they can get away. However, when the trio arrives and learn they can’t get the safe to open, they decide to hang in the house until the owners arrive. Mary, at first reluctant, eventually joins the boys and tells Nathan that she’s pregnant, giving Nathan much more confidence to pull off the job.

The owners, Dr. Richard Huggins and his wife Ellen, arrive back and are shocked at the arrival of the robbers. The trio soon learn that Richard is no ordinary doctor. When Nathan and Gaz confront Richard to open the safe with Ellen’s life on the line, Richard is somehow able to make the two go at it when Gaz loses his grip and shoots Nathan. However, Mary comes to the rescue and kills Gaz. Richard decides to help Nathan and as Terry, who eventually finds himself under the manipulative spells of the owners and has had a crush on Mary, waits in the wings. Mary soon finds herself trapped and discovers an even more shocking secret about the owners that will turn her night into a fight for survival.

Based on the graphic novel “Une Nuit de Pleine Lune” by Hermann and Yves H., director Julius Berg and co-writer Mathieu Gompel collaborated on this British adaptation that loosely takes the source material and brings in a group of protagonists who have different personalities and characterizations. However, what’s even more interesting comes in the form of the antagonists, the titular “owners”, who resort to using manipulation and eventually, a more physical nature in their attempt to rid themselves of the robbers.

In all fairness, Maisie Williams’ Mary is not so much part of the robber gang but more of a woman forced into the situation due to her relationship with Ian Kenny’s Nathan. Nathan is more level-headed than his cohorts. While he has some quirks, it is clear he thinks he can find himself changed when he learns Mary is pregnant. It is as if he is planning to pull this heist as his last one. Andrew Ellis’ Terry is the big softie of the bunch, who finds himself always at the mercy of the other two but eventually finds confidence when the Huggins’ get to him. Jake Curran’s Gaz is the hot-headed crazy member of the robbers who thinks he is the brains of the operation but is more the muscle and lunatic who will force anyone to do what he wants.

Sylvester McCoy and Rita Tushingham are excellent in the roles of the titular “Owners”, Richard and Ellen Huggins. At first, you seem to want to root for them, especially in the scene where they confront the owners and taken them to the basement. This is where Richard uses mind manipulation to force Gaz and Nathan to turn on each other to a very dangerous level. However, as the film goes on, you will change your mind and find the true nature of the apparently wonderful elderly couple. The third act brings the most shock value to the film, all with a pulse-pounding climax that is unexpected.

The Owners is a very good shocking psychological horror with the lesson being clear: don’t ever judge a book by the cover, especially when it comes to this couple.

WFG RATING: B

RLJE Films presents an XYZ Films production in association with Blue Light, Logical Pictures, and Wild Bunch. Director: Julius Berg. Producers: Alain de la Mata and Christopher Granier-Deferre. Writers: Julius Berg and Mathieu Gompel; based on the graphic novel “Un nuit de pleine lune” by Hermann and Yves H. Cinematography: David Ungaro. Editing: Marc Boucrot.

Cast: Maisie Williams, Sylvester McCoy, Rita Tushingham, Jake Curran, Andrew Ellis, Ian Kenny.

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