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11 user 3 critic

A House in the Hills (1993)

An aspiring actress gets a housesitting job and finds herself in a cat-and-mouse game with a deadly ex-con.

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(contributing writer) (as David Greenberg), | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mickey
...
Alex Weaver
...
Willie
...
Ronald Rankin
...
Sondra Rankin
Taylor Lee ...
Patty Neubauer
Toni Barry ...
Susie
James Noellenhoff ...
Chef
Margaret Parke ...
Receptionist
Larue M. Mall ...
Producer
Vincent Eaton ...
Director
Sally Daykin ...
Casting Director
Pieter Riemens ...
Maitre D'
Brenda Colom ...
Maid
Ron La Paz ...
Security Cop
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Storyline

An aspiring actress (Alex) is housesitting in the hills, the owners are taking a break after their neighbour was murdered. For acting practise, Alex pretends to be the owner when someone calls at the house. The caller isn't who he says he is either... Written by Rob Hartill

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Romance | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

28 April 1995 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Agries nyhtes stous lofous tou Los Angeles  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Alex runs from the kitchen through the den to flee from Mickey, she goes from wearing black high heels (revealed earlier) to white tennis shoes, and then back to the heels when she knocks herself unconscious on the hard plastic of the den door. See more »

Quotes

Ronald: It is the flower that most resembles the open lips of the vagina. What do you think?
Alex Weaver: I don't know. You've probably seen more of them than I have.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

I Want You Back
Written by Don Julian
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User Reviews

 
It's a Film Noir!
1 January 2006 | by (Sundance, Utah) – See all my reviews

Film noir: French for 'black film', the term refers to a genre or style depicting a dark, corrupt, and/or violent world characterized by an expressionist mood and MISE EN SCENE. Many of these films also include violence and an underworld of some sort. Noir is equipped with many narrative conventions and twisted deceits. Most Film noir have stories set in impersonal suburban spaces that reflect the alienation and decadence of the characters. The city is a palpable presence taking on a menacing quality that threatens the character within it. Almost always, the protagonist is a male, in this films' case, it is the leader of the cast, a woman. Not just any woman, but the charming, gorgeous Helen Slater, in a role that seems to bring out an enormous, as well as outrageous aspect of her talent.

In a quiet, isolated community in the Hollywood Hills, silence is broken as a young woman is strangled to death in her pool. This story is everywhere people look, although not taken seriously by most, especially by an aspiring actress named Alex Weaver. Alex is determined to make her mark in the profession of power and beauty, but first, she must sacrifice the dreams, for a tacky day job at a cheesy Italian eatery. She is then persuaded to house-sit for a fellow waitress, in a lush setting that puts B.H. 90210 to shame. After playing on an exterminator, whom is not who he says he is, she is pulled into a real web of lies, deception, and passion. She broke all the rules, allowing a stranger into the house during the weekend...bad choice.

Helen Slater is a marvelous actress, and rightly so, as she holds the majority of this twisty tale on her shoulders, no wonder she played Supergirl nine years earlier. Michael Madsen is tough, and rugged, no surprise, as he worms his way into the house, with revenge on his mind. Soon, he and Slater are spending their time talking back and forth about their lies and convictions. Soon, the tension heats up so bad, they end up in the greenhouse performing unspeakable acts of passion amidst a beautiful collection of expensive flowers. Also in the film, is Jeffery Tambor in a down and out riot role as "Willy". Only time can tell as these characters are woven together to an ending resulting in madness and laughter.

This film is a Noir thriller on steroids. Helen Slater is a sure leading lady, but also an antagonist as well. She brings all her troubles onto herself, as she is her own worst enemy. Michael Madsen is, naturally, effective, and menacing as he pulls the audience into his clutches with every scene. His character brings forth flashbacks(another element in Noir) and the violence that ensues the last 45 minutes. Most of the film is not to be mistaken for a staged play-turned film. Most scenes are in fact, Slater and Madsen, uncovering layers of deep, thoughtful character study. Tambors "Willy" is also to be mentioned, as he becomes a strange force in the humorously crazy finale. No one, within the three main stars, can truly be trusted with one another, creating a real noir feel. All three initially lie about who they are at one point or another, and bring a homey house to a shatter-box.

The film also sees a soapy feel, as though it ran on a daytime dial. This is because Slaters 'Weaver' is up for a role, and creating the deception is all part of a formula that speaks in layers about asking ourselves if we really know what we are, or what life is, or where we are going. The film is indeed, a though provoking story, and well characterized by Slater and Madsen. Why it is not too recognized in these days is beyond my knowledge. I feel it should be more known, perhaps a more public screening on actual cable again, like ten years ago on HBO. To sum it all up, this film is a fast, dramatic, humorous, twisted thriller about truths, lies, and deception. It certainly beats any other satire of the like, and Helen Slaters' sexy performance opposite a game Madsen works well. Definitely worth the time!


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