Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.
Those of you who’ve ever worked in a gas station knows that the events that take place in the movie Open 24 Hours occur at least twice a month, sometimes even three times a week depending how close you are to Florida.
Take note. The movie is just fiction, even if you know countless gas station attendants who could probably sue Hours writer/director Padraig (pronounced Pad-raig, not Padra-ig or P-ad-ra-ig or Padrai-g) Reynolds for intellectual property theft.
Were there a lot of bloody murders at your funeral home? Some of them possibly attributed to delusions?
Was there a lot of necroph*lia at your funeral home? I hear that goes on a lot in those types of places.
I know the one. The one in Auburn. I went to get a refreshing carton of gas station milk last week and the doors were locked for ten minutes.
And that’s a perfect segue into the synopsis of our movie Opens 24 Hours because our heroine Mary will have to worry about a lot more than what goes on between the hours of 2 and 6 and then 8 to 12…
This section of the review brought to you by gas station milk. Drink it. It’s supposed to be warm and filmy like that.
24 Hour Synopsis
Open 24 Hours opens with a shot of a large deer head. This is appropriate because we’re in the Deer Gas Market. It’s as generic a gas station as you can find in the middle of nowhere. There’s HPV on every other shelf and the bathrooms are that strange mix of red and brown along the walls. You don’t need to ask why.
We meet a young woman filling out an application. Her name is Mary (Vanessa Grasse) and she needs a job.
Because it’s been a while since she’s had a job and she needs one badly. On the part of the application where it asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, Mary answers ‘Yes’.
That’s what gas station owner Ed (Glendon Hobgood- this guy’s real name and also a character in the Harry Potter movies) would like to know as well.
Mary answers that she set her boyfriend on fire. And that she just got out of jail two weeks ago. She really needs the job and she’ll work really hard and she’s a fast learner and if Ed needs her to set someone on fire she could do that too even if she only likes to do that to her boyfriend.
Ed is hesitant and first but then hires Mary anyway because everyone sets their boyfriend on fire at least once. Ed also knows Mary’s parole officer.
Mary will work the graveyard shift. She doesn’t have a car or a phone, but she can hitch a ride with her best friend Deb (Emily Tennant).
One that just got a job right after getting out of jail for setting her boyfriend on fire.
Mary’s parole officer Tom (Daniel O’Meara) stops by for a regularly scheduled visit. He’s happy Mary got a job, but he’s a tad wary if she’ll be able to function because—
If there was a question on the job application “Do you suffer from paranoid delusions stemming from the fact that your boyfriend was a murderer and made you watch him kill people until you set him on fire?” then Mary would have to answer ‘Yes’ to that as well.
Mary still sees visions of her murderer boyfriend James (Cole Vigue, looking like Ryan Gosling’s little brother with a face that Armie Hammer took a bite out of) even though he’s safely locked up on a prison not far from here. Working by yourself mostly from 10 to 6 in the morning should be the perfect tonic for that.
Because Debbie is such an awesome friend, she’s volunteered to take Mary to work anytime she needs it.
Because Debbie is such a good friend, we’re wondering how much time is remaining before she gets butchered.
Debbie drops Mary off at work. She says she’ll pick her up when she clocks out.
Since it’s Mary’s first day, mid-shift worker and all around nice guy Bobby (Brendan Fletcher) shows her the ropes, which takes up all of 5 minutes. Now Mary is ready. Bobby says Monday nights are pretty slow, but to call him if she needs anything.
Now Mary’s starting work. It’s not so bad, working by herself. She notices the jars of hard-boiled eggs and pickled fetuses by the register and wonders if anybody actually buys them. She could use a little boring job in her life considering what she’s been through. It’s only 8 hours and then Deb will pick her up. What could possibly happen?
Mary might be wrong about Deb picking her up at 6, because before she started her car, a guy wearing a rain slicker borrowed from I Know What You Did Last Summer bonks Deb over the head with a hammer.
It’s safe to say that wondering what the pickled fetuses taste like will be the highlight of Mary’s night. Because sometimes delusional paranoid people are right. Or are they?
That’s just hour one of Mary’s first night. They said Mondays were slow, but you never know when you’re open 24 hours!
*cue wacky sitcom music*
*cue Deb screaming over wacky sitcom music*
This section of the review brough to you by pickled fetuses. Eat them. They’re supposed to be warm and filmy like that.
What Works With Open 24 Hours
- A tense scene involving $10 worth of gas has you on edge from the jump. The prospect of using the gas station toilet is a delight by comparison.
- Though it takes some patience to get there, the third act is fun, bloody, and sometimes completely ridiculous. Though some of the events seem like contrivances, you don’t care because writer/director Padraig Reynolds makes everything feel plausible, even if you’re wondering moments later if that could happen in anything resembling real life. Just enjoy the blood and the gore and don’t think too hard.
- Seriously, those jars look like the ones found in Buffalo Bill’s storage unit in The Silence of The Lambs.
- A nod to Get Out you should have seen coming but didn’t. Well done, everybody.
What Doesn’t Work With Open 24 Hours
- It’s established that Mary has delusions. Unfortunately, that sets us up for a series of fake jump scares in which we’re wondering if Mary imagined it or not. Unfortunately, we start not to care after the 12th time.
- An exposition filled second act that makes it feel like we’re actually working the graveyard shift at a gas station. We’re looking at the clock waiting for kills to occur.
You might want to wait 24 hours after you eat before you see Open 24 Hours. But you should see it anyway. You’ll debate if the kills are scarier than the gas station bathrooms. I’m still on the fence on that.