I just love it when a movie opens with a bloody scene and then goes back in time to explain how we got there. Open 24 Hours is a bit clunky and messy slasher horror movie about a feisty girl trying to survive a night in a remote gas station. Again we’re at one of my favorite locations, a gas station in the middle of nowhere, working a night shift. For our main villain, we’ve got a stereotypical horror killer. Can you guess what he’s like and the weapon he wields? Yup, you got it right, he’s a man “burnt to a crisp” wearing a raincoat and wielding a hammer. It doesn’t get any more stereotypical than that. So, this is a movie that I recommend mostly to the fans of the genre.
Still, if you’re looking for a familiar and cozy horror movie, Open 24 Hours will do just fine. Considering the flimsy premise I was wondering how are they going to actually do this. How are they going to sustain the tension and make this an engaging 100-minute movie with just a girl, a killer, and a gas station? Well, the answer is that they won’t. We will go back in time, exploring the lives of our protagonists and there will be quite a few customers visiting this desolate place. The entire movie is just good enough to warrant a viewing. The atmosphere was actually quite good with the rain pouring down almost the entire time. And most of our cast did a really good job.
Of course, cute and fiery Vanessa Grasse was the star of the show playing Mary, a girl with a disturbing past, depressing present, and a dangerous future. I knew I knew her from somewhere and then I saw she was in It Came from the Desert. This charming little horror comedy about giant killer ants is actually quite good. You can find it on our Death Walking Terror – Movies about Ants list. Vanessa is giving it all she’s got, unlike Daniel O’Meara who was just too stiff as her parole officer. The rest of the cast was solid, with Brendan Fletcher standing out with his pitch-perfect performance. He’s been in a tone of things, so you’ll probably recognize him from somewhere.
A large chunk of the story takes place during that rainy night. This helps with somewhat slower pacing inter-spliced with Mary’s hallucinations. You’re never too sure if she’s seeing a real threat or just imagining things. This psychological aspect of the movie is, again, explored just enough to keep you going until the bloody finale. When it comes to gore, there will be some pretty graphic kills in the final third. It’s nothing you can’t handle and the practical effects were actually quite good along with make-up. Open 24 Hours is a small movie with a modest budget which makes all of this even more impressive. For example, the entire gas station was built from scratch just for this movie.
Actually, this is how I found out about this movie. While I was writing about a similar slasher featuring practically the same setting, Night of the Hunted. The technical details were competent and at times, even stellar. There are no dimly lit scenes where you can’t see shit or any of that stuff. In the end, this is a nice little distraction to kickstart your horror movie night in the right way. It’s definitely not a masterpiece but it should keep you occupied for an hour and a half. Finally, do check out Carpenter’s 1993 horror anthology Body Bags. The first story is an almost carbon copy of the story in this movie.