Released: 27th July
Seen: 29th July
Film releases sometimes happen in little patterns. A certain period of the year is usually for the big blockbusters, another period tends to be for the prestige films trying to get an Oscar, other periods are known as dumping grounds go. Well I’m noticing a new pattern forming, it seems like this point every year is when Netflix seems to release a particularly pathetic wannabe TV movie thriller. First was Secret Obsession, then Dangerous Lies and now we have the utter excrement that is Hostage House, a movie I wouldn’t even program at 3am on the cheapest network you could contemplate.
Hostage House begins simply with realtor Susan (Jennifer Taylor) and her daughter Heather (Julia Terranova) working together to deal with an open house. The open house would’ve been relatively uneventful were it not for a pair of criminals turning up to the open house. Natalie (Emily Sweet) and Keith (Justin C. Schilling) have been robbing various houses for a while now but today they messed up and Keith got shot so they have to hide out in the open house. This means that Natalie and Keith are going to have to hold Susan and Heather hostage until the police stop searching for them… and there’s more but I almost passed out just typing that paragraph because this movie is weapons grade boring.
Nothing about Hostage House works, not a single thing. The characters are dull and uninteresting, the filmmaking on display is even more pedestrian than one might expect from a TV movie and the soundtrack feels like someone fell into a bin full of royalty free tracks, grabbed whatever they could keep hold of and strung it together haphazardly to try and pretend like there is something interesting going on. There isn’t, there is only boredom and bullshit as far as the eye can see. Not even offensive bullshit, just stupid and dull.
Hostage House tries to suggest that Susan and Heather are going to be able to work together somehow to beat Natalie and Keith, a simple idea that could lead to a fun thriller… again, TRIES to SUGGEST, it never does it because Susan and Heather are basically the same person and that person is boring and stupid. Meanwhile Natalie is a comic book villain with the intellect of a gnat and Keith is a puppy dog who got shot and none of them are interesting or smart enough to make me care. Hostage House? The only hostages are the audience who clicked on this thinking that there might be something remotely interesting going on.
Even the dramatic twist reveal at the end (because all these films must have twist reveals for some ungodly reason) is bullshit and stupid. Hostage House tries to do an entire thing about how Nat, Keith and whoever they’re on the phone with all the time are just the lower class victims of an economy that favours the wealthy and Susan and Heather are meant to represent the 1% to them.
While I am all on board with films about class struggles, I’m less on board with films that make the lower classes look like psychotic villains and also thinks that a realtor would be the kind of person that they would want to hurt. Congrats, you tried to have a message but don’t have a clue what you’re talking about so you made everyone look bad, you’ve won my contempt.
All of Hostage House has my contempt. It’s a boring film with bland characters, uninteresting visuals all served with a side sauce of idiocy. It doesn’t shock me that Lifetime probably said “our standards are too high for this shit” but the fact that Netflix gives it a spot in their lineup… Upside might be that at least we know this one’ll stay on Netflix for the long haul because who the hell else would want to own it?