The Owners

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
The Owners Movie Poster Image
Gory home-invasion horror has violence, strong language.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Selfishness, violence, and deceit are rewarded. Characters behave criminally. Most attempts to show empathy or to do the right thing are in vain.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the younger characters are shown to be selfish, greedy, and weak when it comes to standing up for what's right. They also break into a house with the intent to steal. Mary has a strong sense of right and wrong and displays a high level of intelligence, empathy, and resourcefulness. Though she initially takes on a traditional gender role of submission and caretaking, she becomes a strong female lead. The older couple appear harmless at first, but go against stereotype to reveal themselves as capable of horrific things.

Violence

Bloody and graphic violence throughout. Characters are whipped, kicked, slapped, punched, hit with objects, locked in cupboards, dragged, cut, shot, gassed, strangled, injected, and stabbed. They are also thrown up against mirrors and onto the floor. Gory scenes include blood splattering and gushing from wounds, a skull crushed with a mallet, an unnecessary operation performed, a finger sliced off in a doorway, and a dead body shown. A couple are tied up and threatened with a lit a cigar and an electric saw, as well as with having their throats slit, tongues cut out, and fingers cut off. The inside of a home is smashed up. There is mention of a dead child.

Sex

One example of kissing and touching over clothes. Reference is made to oral sex and pregnancy. Sexually charged language such as "tramp" is used on occasion.

Language

Frequent language includes "c--t," "f--k," "f--ing," "s--t," "bulls--t," and "s--tfaced," as well as "wanker," "piss," "Jesus," "retard," and "psycho."

Consumerism

Characters break into a wealthy home in order to steal money from a safe, but little reference is made to individual items beyond the concept of generally having a better life.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarettes, cigars, and drugs are smoked on numerous occasions. Characters are injected with tranquilizers and relaxants, as well as having drinks spiked with them. Characters drink alcohol in the form of spirits.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Owners is a violent horror movie, based on a French graphic novel, that centers on a home invasion. It involves aggressive behavior, including smashing up a home and taking people hostage, and violent acts include stabbings and shootings with a number of characters ending up dead. Bloody wounds, blood splattering, and crushed skulls are shown. There are instances in which characters are trapped in small spaces, are tied up, and wear gas masks, which may cause distress to some. Very few characters display positive qualities, though Mary (Game of ThronesMaisie Williams) does show empathy, resilience, and intelligence. Strong language is used throughout, including "f--k," "c--t," and "s--t." Both recreational and prescription drugs are consumed, and characters drink alcohol and smoke on occasion. The levels of violence and adult themes make the movie suitable for older teens and above.

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What's the story?

In THE OWNERS, a group of friends break into the home of a wealthy couple in a bid to rob their safe, dragging one of their girlfriend's, Mary (Maisie Williams) along with them. However, the owners return unexpectedly. The intruders take the couple hostage. But tempers flare and tension rises when the invaders clash over how far to take the attack. As they start to turn on each other, it looks like the owners may survive the ordeal after all. But are they the helpless elderly couple they appear to be, or is there something more sinister beneath their well-dressed facade?

Is it any good?

This is a gritty home invasion horror with a twist, though the idea of the tables being turned on invaders is not entirely new -- think 2016's Don't Breathe, for a start. In French director Julius Berg's debut feature, the elderly couple and initial "victims" -- Dr. Huggins (Sylvester McCoy) and Ellen Huggins (Rita Tushingham) -- seem a little off from the start. So it's no great surprise when events take a turn. But the extent to which all the elements tie together at the end is certainly an impressive feat.

Williams is carving out an interesting career, taking on some edgy roles. As Mary, she is nuanced and flawed, and ultimately likable in a movie where it is difficult to root for anyone else. Jake Curran's Gaz is truly disturbing, strolling into the home all Clockwork Orange -- an off-kilter mix off emotionless determination and a manic desire for chaos. The violence comes suddenly and intensely, and the tension cranks up nicely as the film reaches its climax. Yet there is little to elevate The Owners above its contemporaries. It's a solid first feature that fits comfortably into the genre but, in terms of a unique take, it never quite owns it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in The Owners. Do the blood and gore seem over the top? Do the violent scenes help tell the story in an effective way? Is it shocking or thrilling? Why? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies?

  • Discuss the strong language in the movie. Does it seem necessary or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?

  • How does the movie depict drinking, smoking, and drug use? Are they glamorized? What are the consequences?

  • The invaders make assumptions about the owners that turn out to be wrong. Can you think of other movies where assumptions have been made based on stereotypes that have been flipped on their head?

Movie details

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