A Good Old Fashioned Home Invasion Thriller

Penthouse North is Joseph Ruben’s (Sleeping with the Enemy, The Good Son) first movie in nine years, with The Forgotten being his last. The Forgotten wasn’t well received by most critics, although I actually quite enjoyed it, especially the nice twist at the end. This is no exception, as the fact that the entire movie is rather predictable, and is somewhat reminiscent of too many other home invasion thrillers, but so what? Theres nothing wrong with a good old fashioned movie, with old fashioned acting, it works. Having the lovely Michelle Monaghan playing lead, did not hurt one bit either.

Sara (Monaghan) is a war reporter covering the fighting in Afghanistan, and as she patrols with some soldiers, they come under attack. Sara is taking cover when she starts to investigate her surroundings, and photographs as she goes. As Sara enters a building, a woman in full religious getup appears, holding what looks to be a baby, but as she starts to take her picture, the chanting woman turns the object to face her, revealing it to be a boobytrapped doll, about to explode. Before Sara has time to react, the doll blows up, leaving her permanently blind. Jump three years, and now we’re in a penthouse with a stunning view. Sara is talking to her boyfriend but shortly leaves to go to the store. On her way there, she is almost run over but a mysterious stranger helps her out. When Sara returns, she finds her boyfriend dead and is now being chased by his murderer. It would appear her boyfriend has some deep dark secrets, and now she’s fighting for her life!

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Michael Keaton is a good actor, who excels at playing quirky characters, Beetlejuice springs to mind, but he isn’t that quirky. No, he is an unnamed thief, who has been double crossed by Sara’s boyfriend, but has a wicked streak that he takes out on anyone weaker than himself, like when he waterboards Sara. His sidekick is played well by Brit Barry Sloane (Revenge), and he performed the Chad character well enough. Michelle Monaghan was good, as usual, playing a blind woman convincingly, but this wasn’t near her best performance. All three performances, and the direction made this film quite good, but it never rose much beyond TV movie status. That said, it was still a damned good film that I have no problem recommending. No problem at all.

Grade: B

Review by Ed Blackadder