Off We Go To… – Grandmother’s House (1988)

David and Lynn no longer have any parents after their father unexpectedly dies and so they have to move in with their grandparents. Not a bad deal really, though it is sad that they no longer have a mom or dad, but they are welcomed with open arms by their grandparents as played by Len Lesser and Ida Lee who seem to genuinely care about them and are happy to have them in the house. For David though, things seem a bit off and maybe it is the grief sharpening his awareness of things but he soon comes to think that his grandparents are murderers and after seeing some things, it is hard to think otherwise.

Director Peter Rader creates a very suspenseful and altogether fun film with Grandmother’s House, one that will lead the audience down one path only to have it veer off and surprise them by going another direction. While Lee does a great job as Grandmother, it is Lesser who really delivers the fright, the man being genuinely scary when he gets angry or even perturbed. It is no wonder then that the audience believes what they see and while what Rader shows them is partially true, there is not one but two reveals, the first which is interesting in itself and the second, quite shocking and slightly horrific in nature. Balancing out the performance from Lesser would be Eric Foster who would play David and Kim Valentine who would star as his sister Lynn. For the most part, David would be the center of attention throughout, much of the film revolving around him though Lynn would come into more prominence during the last act. Foster would play his part to perfection, the young man dealing with his loss, suspect of everything at the moment and trying to move past it all but unable to do so as the things he sees are beyond disturbing. That in itself would be a respite for David, for what his grandparents do, does indeed take his mind off of the fact he now has no parents.

Suffice it to say, there is a fair bit of action though not in the classic sense, simply enough events filled with either levity or horror or teenage shenanigans to keep things moving along at a decent pace. Aside from Lesser and the occasional body, there is not a lot of horror to be seen on the screen but just enough to keep viewers watching with anticipation, waiting to see what comes next. Thanks to those who star within, they make it easy and though there are, of course, those moments that seem illogical to those watching – such as why David would not call or go to the police the first time he thought he saw his grandparents murdering someone, one just has to suspend that bit of the brain that overthinks things and just sit back and enjoy what is unfolding.

All in all, Grandmother’s House might not be what one might expect but that is the charm of it and it delivers on all fronts making for a fine piece of horror, if just a little light on the subject.

3 out of 5

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