"For Sale By Owner" is a haunting thriller--from which you assume, trained by recent movies, that it is filled with nerve wreaking tension, eerie flash-backs and extremely disturbing character study. For those who expect episodic, gory, blood and guts ride, this is not your type of movie. On the contrary, it is a clever story in which an atmosphere of dread slowly envelops the characters--too slowly at times.
The film takes place in a house in small-town USA called Emeryville. In this house lives Sera (Amanda Brown) with her husband, Mr. Growstosky. To the house one day, on a stormy afternoon, comes a real-estate agent named Andrew Byrd (John Lansch), who is responding to Mr. Growstosky's call for putting the house for sale on the market.
Caught in the storm of the century and waiting for his ride, Sera reluctantly allows Andrew inside the house. At the same time, a serial killer is on a rampage, killing random victims and marking his kill by carving a number 13 on their chests.
During the course of their conversation, we find out that Andrew is an extremely temperamental person fighting a nasty child custody battle. His personality changes after a few drinks. Sera soon realizes that Andrew does to plan to leave and her life might be in jeopardy.
Just when things begin to take turn for the worst, John Denton (Marc H) shows up at the door in a form of Messiah. Just when Sera starts feeling a bit secured, we learn that John is carrying religious baggage.
The movie's events are such that I must not describe them. Even a hint might give away the game. Of course they are elusive and mysterious, explained first one way and then another.
The director has the patience to create a languorous, suspense filled atmosphere, and Amanda Brown succeeds in convincing me that she is a normal person in a disturbing situation and not just a standard-issue horror movie hysteric. The writing, although not superlative, had me glued to the screen wanting to watch as the drama unfolded.
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