The Owners

Even under the best of circumstances Nathan and Terry are not criminal masterminds, and sufficiently stoned that they could be used to build a farmhouse wall it is safe to say they are not at their best, waiting for Doctor Huggins and his wife to take a rare excursion from their house, the date of which was mentioned to Terry by his mother, the Huggins’ cleaner, as innocently as she once mentioned the large safe in the cellar where they keep their wealth.

It would never occur to her that Terry would be so stupid as to try and break in, not when the Huggins have always been so good to them and so many of the other families in their low-income rural community, but it is Nathan’s out-of-town mate Gaz who is pushing his dim-witted companions and is willing to do whatever is necessary to see the cash.

An Englishman’s home is his castle, however, and the safe defies their feeble attempts so the boys choose to wait with stockinged faces for the owners to arrive home and extract the combination from them, first with threats which Gaz quickly escalates to torture, turning on his supposed friends as easily as his targets when they show hesitation.

A violent and vicious home invasion thriller, The Owners is directed by Julius Berg, adapted by Berg, Mathieu Gompel and Geoff Cox from Hermann and Yves H’s graphic novel Une nuit de pleine lune (A Night of Full Moon), starring A Joke’s Sylvester McCoy as Richard Huggins and sixties icon Rita Tushingham as his vulnerable wife Ellen, while reluctantly involved is Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams as Nathan’s girlfriend Mary who just wanted to use the car.

McCoy’s time as Doctor Who still conveying an implicit trust in his kindly tone and gentle manners, he was always a canny and sinister master of manipulation and as the smartest man in the room he still uses that power to his advantage, picking at the doubts of the others even as they wield power tools, defiantly refusing to cooperate or capitulate.

Switching between tense and terrifying and disarmingly sweet, an evening at home with the Huggins, The Owners is a merry-go-round of shifting sympathies and shocking reversals which doesn’t quite last to the final goodnight having already played the strongest cards but the hosts can be charming and reasonable so long as you obey the house rules and ignore the blood as you step over the bodies.

FrightFest continues until Sunday 25th October