Open 24 Hours follows a traumatized young woman who recently survived a relationship with a now-imprisoned boyfriend whom she discovered was a serial killer. Now trying to piece her life back together, she gets a job as the overnight clerk at a remote gas station. But as she continues to suffer auditory and visual hallucinations, she isn't sure what is real and what isn't...and whether or not someone is trying to kill her.
Open 24 Hours Review
This film, which got some steam in the festival circuit, was a pretty big disappointment, leaving me scrounging for why it was getting much attention at all. It lacked style, tension, direction, and personality. It felt like a workshop in "how to do the slasher/psychological thriller mashup", and it followed everything by the number without adding any nuance, character, or technique. It was...bland...but why?
Firstly, this is essentially a slasher in a Clerks setting with a protagonist suffering from PTSD. Actually, that concept is pretty interesting, but it sure wasn't executed in that way...It felt like it was trudging along at a Jaws pace, but instead of having Brody/Quint/Hooper banter before the awesome animatronic reveal, we get cookie-cutter bickering with a parol officer, cafe chatting with a BFF, and a flirtatious orientation with a gas station attendant. Sure, we get the occasional hallucination and I Know What You Did Last Summer figure standing off in the distance, but besides these brief escapes, we are stuck in drab dialogue for what feels like the first half of the movie.
It's not as bad as a teen drama masquerading as a horror film, but its lack of style or anything resembling tension make it difficult not to jump to said hyperbole. The overall film isn't as bad as I am making it sound, it just feels like the film's potential is buried deep underneath a layer of blandness. The film's strongest response comes from the semi-romantic connection between the coworker and our protagonist, and that's simply not where you want to be finding your attention drawn to in a horror film.
The psychological thriller "is it real or not" hallucination cliches make for a yawn-inducing predictability that makes the entire film lack a sense of originality, despite the bare bones of the plot offering a promising concept.
There are a few well-done shots. Most of the moments of violence, such as a hammer to the cheek or a man on fire, are very well executed. The slasher moments building to the climax are quite good, but the hallucinatory moments missed the mark for me. I couldn't bite.
Perhaps it's the rough editing or the drab directing, but something was missing in Open 24 Hours to draw me in. The acting was acceptable and the writing serviceable for the most part, though it clearly lacked an urgency to move things along in the first act. There is enough here to warrant a watch between a group of friends desperate for a horror/thriller popcorn flick, but you also might be better off giving something else a shot or maybe even rewatching a favorite. No, Open 24 Hours wasn't a waste of time that reached the point of angering me, but it certainly wasn't something that impressed me much at all.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 5/10