Fantastic Fest Review: OPEN 24 HOURS Has Delusions

If a murder occurs, but nobody's watching, does it really happen?

Who among us hasn’t thought about setting our serial killer boyfriends on fire in order to escape the hell they’ve put them through? Open 24 Hours follows Mary (Vanessa Grasse) as she lives the aftermath of doing just that, but she hasn't come out of that tragic night unscathed. Complicity saves no one, and after being “The Watcher” in so many of her boyfriend’s murders, Mary finds herself in prison for a spell. Once she’s out, she has the unfortunate task of finding an employer that will hire a convicted felon - especially a felon who also happens to suffer occasional episodes of paranoid delusions.

After a few weeks on the outside, Mary eventually finds a job at a 24-hour convenience store, on the recommendation of her gruff parole officer. Her new job could be the start of a new chapter for a trauma victim like her, but Mary’s episodes keep getting the best of her, despite her meds and small support system. But as things start to unfold, it becomes clear that not everything she "hallucinates" is happening in her mind, and she’s in for a rough first day on the job.

Despite an interesting premise, and the opportunity to tackle themes like trauma-inflicted mental illness and the act of being complicit under duress, Open 24 Hours spins its wheels for much of its runtime. The movie relies heavily on Mary’s delusions well after she realizes that her boyfriend - meant to be safely locked in a prison cell - is free to terrorize her and her friends. More often than not, this serves the sole purpose of tossing in cheap jump scares while the very real threat of death looms.

The film has a couple of okay moments to help break up the overall tedium, each moment coming when Grasse is given the opportunity to show some actual personality, rather than being a terrified set piece. Unfortunately, none of those moments are actually necessary to the plot. There’s nothing terrible about Open 24 Hours, it’s just a bundle of “mostly okay" - that's open for one hour and forty minutes.

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