Like a true Hollywood film, action, corruption and the foreseen battle between good and evil in The Glass House allows for an edge-of-your-seat movie experience. Viewers will definitely walk away from this film with a satisfying knot in their stomach. Based on the flashy previews alone, it is learned that Ruby (Leelee Sobieski; Eyes Wide Shut, Here on Earth), and little brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan; Jurassic Park III, The Patriot) are orphaned and taken in by their dead parent’s good friends, Erin and Terry Glass (Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgard).
At first the Glass’ seem to be perfect. Living like rockstars in a showy Malibu mansion (made up of glass panels overlooking the ocean), they shower the kids with stylish clothes and the newest video games. However, the true nature of the so-called nurturing guardians soon surfaces leaving Ruby and Rhett trapped in a paranoid nightmare. In the words of Leelee Sobieski “the glass house is what you see through, and the people who you thought were really nice, aren’t.”
Director Daniel Sackheim certainly deserves credit for creating a spine-tingling psychological thriller. By offering very little information at the beginning of the film, the audience becomes a puppet for the filmmaker’s imagination. Like all thrillers, it takes time for the plot to unfold, and when it does the audience is captivated and holding their breath as they silently root for Ruby and Rhett’s triumph over evil.
With every suspenseful movie it is important to remember that sometimes behind all of the intense music leading to the oh-so-anxious surprises (which usually stimulate a shriek from at least one audience member), there is either a dry or ridiculous plot underneath. Sackheim provides the dark theme with a fitting set of dark hallways and odd glass walls, eerie music and countless ‘close-calls’ (which to say the least, add spontaneous excitement), but some aspects are rather corny. Beneath the excellent element of suspense, it must be noted that the plot itself is rather rushed and shallow. The transformation of Erin and Terry (the adoptive parents) from supposed good to evil was hurried through a domino-like series of lame-brained mishaps. It is wise to consider the realism of how quickly the evil is discovered within the guardians. Though it is exciting to sit back and watch everything unfold, and afterward chit-chat as to how creepy and well portrayed the evil Terry Glass was, you’re left afterward with a shallow fairytale.
For someone who looks for action and spine-tingling suspense, see this movie. If you’re looking for depth and something to think about later, more than the typical Hollywood glitz and special effects, wait until this one comes out on video. It’s eminently entertaining and surely for someone with two hours to kill will not be disappointed; just don’t expect to see it on any critic’s lists.