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Open Windows (2015) artwork

Open Windows (2015)

Friday 13th March 2015

Starring Elijah Wood, Open Windows, released on DVD by Koch Media on 20th April 2015, takes the techno thriller steps further, borrowing its playbook from classic voyeuristic films such as Rear Window and Peeping Tom.
Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell, Michelle Jenner, Julián Villagrán
Nacho Vigalondo
Koch Media
Unknown
20/04/2015

When Nick (Elijah Wood) discovers that he's won a dinner date with his favorite star Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey), he's incredibly excited to finally get the chance to meet her. That excitement deflates when Jill refuses to honour the contest and all of Nick's hopes are dashed. He's intrigued when Chord (Neil Maskell), a man claiming to be Jill's campaign manager, offers him something he can't quite refuse: Chord will give Nick the ability to constantly view Jill via computer. Nick is initially reluctant but ultimately cannot resist the opportunity to gain unlimited access to the woman of his dreams. However, Nick soon learns that everything comes at a price, and what starts as the realisation of his fantasies soon becomes a nightmare that puts him and Jill in serious danger.

In the 1990s personal computers were a more common feature in homes and - as well as boybands - the decade saw the rise of the World Wide Web as a tool for communicating with people around the globe. The excitement and paranoia around these new technologies manifested itself in culture, especially in cinema where we were treated to films such as The Net (1995), {Hackers (1995) and Enemy of the State (1998).

Fast forward to 2015 and people are slaves to their screens, whether in the form of tablets, smartphones or even smart watches. As a result, we are witnessing the re-emergence of the Techno thriller of which Nacho Vigalondo's mind bending Open Windows stands out, being one of the most ambitious and technically complex entries into this genre.

From the trials of Wiki-Leaks founder in 2013's The Fifth Estate to the imagined violent consequences of cyber bullying in the profoundly relevant 2015 release Unfriended; filmmakers are telling more stories against the backdrop of the cyber landscape. These films tackle the rise of cyber stalking, hacking, surveillance and issues around online privacy.

Open Windows takes the techno thriller steps further, borrowing its playbook from classic voyeuristic films such as Rear Window (1954) and Peeping Tom (1960). Spanish genre trickster Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial) combines all these cinematic elements and cultural influences to tell a lurid tale of celebrity obsession, blackmail and murder; with plenty of clever twists delivered in an intricately designed cyber world - not too unfamiliar to the audience.

The film stars Elijah Wood, once again playing against a type established with the hugely successful Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Open Windows is evidence again of his range and love for cult sci-fi and horror, following on from his recent performances in Maniac (2012) and Grand Piano (2013).

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