Retro Review: Glass House

Written: September 17, 2001

Teenage paranoia or a sinister plot seems to be the main ingredients in the latest thriller from starlet Leelee Sobieski.

Sobieski plays Ruby Baker, a teenager who has been placed with her wealthy godparents (Diane Lane, Stellen Skarsgard) after a horrendous car accident claims the lives of her parents. Ruby’s brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan) has also been placed with her.

Terry and Erin Glass, Ruby’s godparents, live in a huge spacious Malibu home that seems to get more and more eerie every night.

Ruby really has a hard time adjusting to her new living arrangement, as she has to live in the same bedroom as her 11 year- old brother.

Trying to escape the annoying habits of her brother, Ruby begins to learn some things about her new parents. She hears her parents bickering and screaming, as she seems to stumble into something even more sinister.

Is this sinister presence apart of Ruby’s depressed and tormented imagination or is it an actual plot?

What is the exact motive of her godparents’ actions? And furthermore, what are they after?

We have all heard the story about the evil stepparents and how they always hate kids. Going all the way back to the retched step-mother in the fairy-tale “Cinderella” to the B-movie series, “The Stepfather”, step-parents have always gotten the short end of the stick. What is it with our assumption that they are evil?

In the movie, “The Glass House” nothing is really explored or twisted about this assumption but with a clever sense of direction and intense pacing “House” brings a something fresh to an old concept.

I am not totally sure if this film works because we care about the characters but I do know that the way it is filmed is enough to draw you inside. There is tension-filled music oozing from every crevasse of the film’s conception and this cleverly positioned music adds to the film’s intensity.

I liked how Sobieski absorbs the subject matter in as we follow her around the film. She really shows a range of emotions.

Like the Kirsten Dunst’s and Liv Tyler’s before her, Sobieski seems to have a hidden range that is reaching fruition. I am really starting to enjoy watching this young actress emerge.

As for the performances of Lane and Skarsgard, I felt they were adequate. Lane plays a character full of torment and draws a lot of strength from that. She does a good job but it could have been a lot more intense.

Skarsgard is the typical villain who the teen must foil but it’s the awkward scenes where Skarsgard seems to come onto Sobieski that really get our blood pumping.

Skarsgard does a good job of keeping the illusion alive. Is he sick and twisted or is Sobieski just misinterpreting his actions?

As for Sobieski’s godparents, as characters, I felt that their plot could have been explained and fleshed out more. The film resorts to the tension and sticks with it without really unraveling the mystery totally.

There will be questions in your mind once you catch your breath at the end but one must really embrace the ride to enjoy the film.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

Side Note: Isn’t it uncanny that Rhett chooses to play Playstation over SNES throughout the film. Gee, I wonder who made this film?

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