Claire and Ryan, a newlywed couple, move into a new house across the country, only to find out that their marital issues are the least of their problems. Unbeknownst to them, Their grim and strange landlord has been spying on them from day one.
Over the last few years I have moved from house to house, renting from strangers and just basking in my own peace, without a care in the world. Not once did I ever think that the new place I called home, could have secret cameras within the walls, following my every move, watching as I shower and bath. I mean if you are renting right at this moment, how do you actually know that there is someone there with you…..watching you…….
If you just looked up and across the room you sit in, then welcome to the The Landlord or if you do not live in Britain, welcome to this neat and nasty small budget film 13 Cameras that takes that simple notion and makes you question just exactly what you might be living in.
Think of it as a dark and disturbing version of the 90’s hit Sliver, The Landlord is an impressive film debut by director Victor Zarcoff who manages to create a simplistic tale of tension that you simply can not take your eyes off for a second. Like all good horror/thrillers, the film’s plot could happen to all of us, as we follow a young couple who are expecting their first baby and decide to rent out a lovely home.
Their landlord is Gerald (Neville Archambault) who is more than happily to give them a tenancy agreement and why? Well like I’ve pointed out, he want’s his own Big Brother show to watch and masturbate too. Archambault is simply sensational in the role, a bit like Martin Lomax from The Human Centipede 2, his quiet but creepy ways, makes the chill factor go up a notch every time he appears on screen. Believe me, this film would not be half as good if it weren’t for his performance and I very much doubt that we see a betterprotagonist in a 2016 movie.
Claire (Brianne Moncrief) and Ryan (PJ McCabe) both go about their business, totally oblivious to the watching eyes, showering together, making love, but while they do have a child on the way, that does not stop them from having issues. This is mainly to do with Ryan being nothing more than an unlikable guy, who is more than happy to be having an affair with his assistant, than actually taking care of his pregnant wife.
Both are great in the roles and the characters do enough to make you believe in what is happening around them. Claire as the vibe that something is not right with the house and its pleasing that we not once go into the path of her husband being in denial and questioning her sanity.
Thankfully Zarcoff also refuses to go down the found footage path with his style. What could easily have been a My Little Eye rip/off, the film sparsely uses the CCTV Camera angle and the film is so much better for it.
As the tension between the couple rises, so does the actions of Gerald and while there are moments that question how he can freely enter and leave their home without ever getting caught, its the fact that this could happen and probably is happening that will leave you grabbing the armchair tight with unease.
While the film mostly cranks up the mood its the final third that it sadly falls apart. What I wanted and expected was the tone to turn up to full terror alert, the film to its credit promises that throughout, but never really delivers as it somehow stays on the same level which is a shame. I did not once find myself screaming “Get out!” or “Come on!” and once the credits rolled I found myself a tad frustrated at the final outcome.
We do manage to get a dark moment as the final shot, which will thrill those with a black sense of humour, its just I wanted more BANG to go with the wonderful work that went before it.
The Landlord is a straightforward tale that will easily pass off as perfect weekend viewing, its not a bloodbath for the gore-hounds out there, and it doesn’t offer anything really fresh to a genre awash with this material, but its an impressive debut by Zarcoff who shows a talent to create a tension filled tale, despite its weak ending.