Hostage House – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: Whilst showing a house, a realtor is visited by her daughter, who wants to see the impressive listing. The two women are taken hostage by a couple, desperate to evade the law.

Is it any good?: It is titled Hostage House. The makers pushed the boat out on that title. Suffice to say, no, it is not a good film. The acting is poor and that is being kind.

How this film managed to garner a three-point-eight on IMDB is anybody’s guess. That is a very generous score.

There is, apparently, a high bar for getting films onto Netflix. I think it is probably a nepotistic bar.

There is no way anyone at Netflix watched this and thought: “This is a great film! People will love this!” Not even if they were high and drunk.

This film is awful.

Spoiler territory: Realtor, Susan (Jennifer Taylor), is in a mountain of debt. She has to sell the family home but does not want her daughter, Heather (Julia Terranova), to find out.

She hides the multiple debt letters she has received in her bag as Julia comes into the house. Susan opines about Heather going away to school. Heather, a teenager in her mid-twenties, thinks she wants to get rid of her. She does.

Susan hopes to sell a high-end property she has on the books, the commission of which will clear her debts. A stellar plan. Heather sees the cards for the property and is impressed. Heather is not due at college for a month.

Susan, planning on selling the family home, suggests they go out to dinner. Always easier to deliver bad news on a full stomach. Heather heads out for a run. Susan gets ready to head to the property.

Susan chats with Darren (Patrick Cronen), part of the private security that looks after the properties. He congratulates her on getting the owners to sell the property. He’s very friendly.

Susan gets to the property, preparing to stage it for potential buyers. She hears a noise. It’s only five minutes in, so nothing is going to happen. She is startled by her boss, Paul (Richard Neil).

They talk about her house. Paul, who wears too much jewellery and looks like he was in a failed rock band, is surprised to hear she has not told Heather. He gets overly touchy-feely as he gives her a pep talk. He only cares about the sale of the property.

Heather, out running with a friend, Tracy (Jasmine Newell), whines about her mother wanting to get rid of her. Tracy advises that she speak with her mother. It’s probably just empty-nest feelings that she is trying to cover up.

Heather is soothed by her words, enough to want to run again. Back at the property, Susan is showing potential buyers the house. As evening comes around, she shows the last viewers out. A police car blazes by the grounds, sirens blaring.

Susan, her day over, settles down, taking off her shoes. She hears a sound. Again it is nothing to worry about, Heather making an impromptu visit, eager to see the house.

A police helicopter is buzzing overhead, as the same police car, as before, blazes by the grounds, sirens still blaring. A car pulls up to the house. More buyers; with darkness falling and the viewing over, Susan is reluctant to show them around.

Heather persuades her that she may as well. Susan opens the door to a young couple; Natalie (Emily Sweet) and Keith (Justin C Schilling). Keith does not look good. He locks the door as they enter.

Keith is bleeding from a gunshot wound. The couple still follows their ruse of being an interested party, letting Susan show them around the house. Keith bleeding to death does not seem to alter their plan.

A curious Susan, discovering his bleeding, makes them alter their plans. Susan is now their hostage. Heather is creeping around the house, having spotted blood spots in the kitchen.

Heather sees Natalie pointing a gun at her mother and gasp. Natalie hears her and asks if there is anybody else in the house. Susan lies. Natalie does not believe her and looks around the house.

Natalie, who has probably never played hide-n-seek, peeks into a couple of rooms, around a corner and is satisfied. Heather, unhappy with not being found, makes even more noise.

Keith, more levelheaded than his female companion, checks the security cameras. They see Heather trying to escape and quickly apprehend her.

With both women now captive, Susan tries to manipulate the situation. A policeman, Murphy (Kamen Casey), comes to the door. They are going door-to-door, looking for the two criminals. They killed a man during their last robbery.

Susan manages to persuade him that she is safe. Murphy leaves but not before telling her that there are roadblocks all around. Paul keeps ringing Susan’s phone. Natalie calls their boss.

In a private moment with Natalie, Susan tells her she knows she is pregnant. Paul comes to the house and gets taken as a hostage. He tries to negotiate their release.

He insults Susan for her lack of fortitude. He also betrays the fact that she is selling the house. Not appreciating the gravity of the situation, Heather is mortified at the house being sold and finding out her mother is getting rid of her late father’s things.

Natalie and Keith take Paul to the car. She gets a call from the boss. He wants the money immediately, Natalie violently coercing Paul into accepting the new proposal.

Paul manages to escape and get to the perimeter of the grounds. The fencing is high, with iron spear-like brackets. Paul, no longer a youthful fellow, attempts to climb the fence and is impaled on the fence.

Meanwhile, Susan and Heather have freed themselves and escaped. They see Darren and flag him down. Darren – shock and horror – is the boss! he takes them back to the house.

Back at the house, Darren has an ego moment. He rants about his poor treatment from the wealthy minority. It’s a real bitching session. Speaking of bitching, Heather is still moaning about the house sale.

Darren wants to take one of the women as a hostage for insurance. Keith disagrees but is out-voted.

Darren takes Natalie aside, going outside. She was supposed to kill Keith. He was to be the fall guy for all the robberies.

Susan tells Keith that he is not part of Darren’s plan. He listens in on them and finds out they plan to betray him, frame him and kill the women. Keith frees the two women.

Darren and Natalie chase the women, Natalie remotely locking all the house’s doors. Keith and Darren fight but Keith is easily overpowered and knocked out. Keith comes to and unlocks the house.

Mother and daughter escape separately. Natalie gets thrown in the pool by Heather. She is not at all happy about it. Susan alerts the police by firing shots into the sky. Darren captures Heather.

Darren wants the money. Keith starts burning the money and Darren has a meltdown. He shoots Keith and turns to shoot Susan. Murphy kills him. The police arrest Natalie, and – because Darren was a terrible shot – a still alive, Keith.

Susan apologises to Heather for some reason. All’s well. A few weeks later, Susan drives her to college. Months later – I assume, because she was not showing at all – Natalie gives birth. Her baby is taken from her because she is in prison. The end.

Final thoughtsHostage House is a turd. Directed by David Benullo and written by Daniel West, the film is poor in every department. The acting is rubbish.

Though, I suspect, it is down to poor direction. It is not possible, for so many bad actors to all appear in the same film. The story is weak, the characters underwritten and the motivation nonexistent.

The music is horrible. Overwrought, too damn loud and not adding to proceedings at all. It is as though West just kept adding elements in the hope of the story working. It doesn’t.

Hostage House – a title of breathtaking laziness – is total poo. Avoid.

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