Open Windows (Blu-ray Review)

Open Windows When Nick (Elijah Wood) discovers that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite star Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey), he’s incredibly excited to finally get the chance to meet her. That excitement deflates when Jill refuses to honor the contest and all of Nick’s hopes are dashed. He’s intrigued when Chord (Neil Maskell), a man claiming to be Jill’s campaign manager, offers him something he can’t quite refuse: Chord will give Nick the ability to constantly view Jill via computer. Nick is initially reluctant but is finally persuaded, unaware that this decision will put both himself and Jill at risk.

Open Windows


Open Windows is the story of uber-fan, Nick (Elijah Wood), who wins a dinner for two with the lovely actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey). All is going well until someone claiming to be her campaign manger informs young Nick that the dinner was canceled at Goddard’s request. Nick is bummed for minute until this person claiming to be part of Jill’s inner circle asks him if he would like to get even for Jill’s lame transgressions. It seems that the mysterious “Chord” also harbors bitter feelings towards Jill since she doesn’t seem to be the coolest person in the world outside of her films.

Things quickly escalate as Chord opens virtual doors that infiltrate every part of Jill’s life – all in real time. As Jill’s life gets remotely hacked Nick must decide if he wants to take it to the further reaches of experience and essentially stalk Jill or is he willing to walk away from the whole event and the mysterious Chord intact? I’ll be completely honest and say that Open Windows caught me off guard. Outside of posting the PR release on this website a few weeks ago I paid no attention to it. I just knew there something up due to seeing Sasha Grey do lots of promotional work for it over in Spain, where the film was shot.

Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, V/H/S) wrote and directed the film and also brought in Elijah Wood into the fold. Everyone plays their parts nicely and some of the things that happen in the film are really out there and some are taken from real life situations and news stories. There’s a nice scene involving a mysterious hacker group that wears creepy masks just like some of the various groups out there in the real world. Yes, the film is not without faults as the last act of the film can and does get a little bit confusing for its own good. The good news is that I will re-watch it and hopefully pick up on things that I totally missed on my initial viewing.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Open Windows is a straight up remake of Rear Windows, because it only adds flourishes here and there. It also throws in situations that may seem familiar to some if they watched Phone Booth and the more preposterous Cellular from years backThe film is a giant “gumbo” of sorts. I do like what the film offers and from a pure entertainment factor it succeeded in spades. Elijah Wood has been on a role as of late starring in several low-key but critically acclaimed small films like: Maniac, Grand Piano, and now Open Windows. His “voyeur” trilogy is complete!

Sasha Grey does well in her part as Jill and I thought her performance was also more than adequate. I was a really big fan of her work in The Girlfriend Experience (although no one else was) and do think she has a great future in the mainstream picture business. She’s very likable and charismatic and brings a certain level of humanity to this project. She’s very believable in her role as the formerly stuck-up and now not-so-stuck-up actress she is playing in Open Windows. 

Open Windows will crack under scrutiny but if you take it as simple entertainment then you’ll have a great time watching it. I certainly had a great time watching it and hope for more from all those involved in the near future!


Open Windows


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: The video presentation is up there for the type of film it is. Contrast and sharpness levels stay steady, with exception to the scenes using different types of cameras and filming styles. Yes, Open Windows has a peculiar aesthetic, which we will talk about in the “depth” portion of this review.

Depth: Open Windows was filmed in 1.85:1, digital (I assume), so the levels in “quality” fluctuate, because they are inherent to the source. The opening prologue looks outstanding and cinematic, because it was shot that way and the scenes featuring Elijah and some of the cast members look grainy and soft, because those scenes call for it. Once the found footage POV angle hits out on the streets and inside of the car you will see that they tend to mimic real life.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky in certain scenes but falter a bit during those scenes calling for the found footage angle. It’s not a bad thing, because they’re inherent to the source and were meant to look that way.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is quite well done especially during those scenes that do not involve immediate danger. The prologue looks great and vibrant and accentuates the low-lit hotel Elijah Wood is staying in. When a certain group is highlighted their initial appearance looks colorful and creepy at the same time.

Flesh Tones: Every one looks to be in tip-top shape – no one looks pasty or on their way out, so to speak.

Noise/Artifacts: During the more cinematic moments of the film the picture looks clean and crisp. Once the danger escalates then added noise and tweaks affect the overall look. Please keep in mind that it’s all intentional.

Open Windows


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics: Open Windows has a very dynamic soundtrack – it’s front loaded, which is great and there are many scenes of peril and there are many scenes of stillness. Nothing is ever jumbled, distorted, or ruined. The lossless soundtrack is excellent.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer LFE channel gets in some kicks and works without distorting everything else.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear surround sound channels are exquisite in their reproduction of background noise, ambience, voices, etc. None of these scenes that involve reared dynamics never interfere with the soundstage out in front.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are great, clear, and free of clipping, echoing, and anomalies. It’s a near-reference soundtrack for a reason.

Open Windows


Open Windows is light on extras. We get a short making-of featurette and a very short special effects reel. That’s all folks!

  • The Making of OPEN WINDOWS (HD) – This making of featurette runs just over 15-minutes and is crammed with interviews and behind the scenes footage. The cast and crew talk about making the film and the crazy logistics involved in creating the world of Open Windows.
  • Visual Effects Reel (HD) – This VFX reel runs just under 2-minutes but you’ll be amazed at what was real and what was a visual effect. Not everything in the film was actually there.



Open Windows


Open Windows takes a formula that’s actually been done several times before and combines it into a hodgepodge of cyber thriller, murder mystery, conspiracy theory, etc., and it works. Yes, it’s unbelievable as hell but with a picture like this it works. It’s a fun little flick and I hope to see more from Nacho in the near future. If you want more from him then I would suggest watching his excellent film Timecrimes (Cronocrimenes)It’s a very underrated film and if you notice some of the newer crop of time travel films – many scenes and themes were obviously lifted from Timecrimes. That’s a story for another time, so enjoy Open Windows. 




Open Windows Released on Blu-ray January 27th.




Open Windows


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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