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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Squatters DVD Review

For two young drifters Jonas (Thomas Dekker, TV's "The Secret Circle") and Kelly (Gabriella Wilde, Endless Summer), their dream comes true when they illegally take residence in an upscale home of a vacationing family. But things start to spiral out of control when the rightful owners, Michael Silverman (Luke Grimes) and his father (Richard Dreyfuss), unexpectedly return from overseas. Now Jonas and Kelly are trapped by their own deceptions, leading to a violent, inevitable confrontation between two very different worlds.

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Jonas and Kelly are two street rats who wander the boardwalks along the Santa Monica beaches.  Sleeping under lifeguard towers and stealing food seems to be their normal day-to-day routine.  One day, as Jonas is checking for unlocked cars in a parking lot, he sees a woman talking to her maid.  She’s reminding the maid that she and her husband will be out of town for the next couple of weeks and gives the maid the entry code to the house.  Jonas follows the woman home and a plan hatches in his brain. 

After saving Kelly from some gangbangers on the beach, he takes her to the home, where he’s used to code to get in.  Kelly wakes up in a big, beautiful house in Pacific Palisades, overlooking the ocean.  As they explore the house, Kelly discovers the luxurious bathtub and decides to take a bath.  While she’s bathing, Jonas finds the home office and begins trying to get into the password-protected computer, finds the home safe and other paperwork.

He gets the safe open, where he finds cash, jewelry and a gun.  He goes to tell Kelly and finds her dressed in the woman’s clothes, looking like she belongs. Jonas and Kelly spend a few days living the life of luxury, and while they are doing that, Jonas goes to a friend who says he knows a guy who will buy all the jewelry and cars from him.  While Jonas is out, the plan goes awry when the Silvermans return early from their vacation and find that someone has been living in their home.   

I thought Squatters was going to be much more suspenseful than it was.  In fact, it wasn’t at all.  There were a couple parts where I thought maybe it would be, but in all, it was a really nice story and a bit sad.  Kelly and Jonas found a place they could stay and pretend for a couple of days that their lives weren’t as bad as they were and they were comfortable.  Thomas Dekker and Gabriella Wilde were good as Jonas and Kelly.  The transformation from dirty street rat to clean cut kids playing house was really good and Wilde’s timid, nervousness was really believable.  While the conclusion of the story stretched the imagination – it’s hard to believe that the Silverman family would act the way they did when they found out about Kelly and Jonas – the story itself was a good one. 
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation of Squatters was really good.  The picture was crisp and clear and the ocean views were gorgeous.  There was the right amount of haze in the film to make it look like the ocean was so close and the colors blended well together.  Night scenes were sharp and the blacks were true.  I enjoyed watching the film.
Audio (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Squatters is available in English 5.1 Dolby Digital with English SDH subtitles.  The sound was really inconsistent for me.  I was constantly turning the volume up to hear the dialogue and then turning it back down for louder parts.  It is a low volume film, so make sure you have your remote control handy, though if you are anything like me, at some point, you will just get annoyed and leave the volume up and hope it’s not so loud the neighbors can hear it.
Extras (0 out of 5 stars)
There were no extras on the disc I was provided.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
I enjoyed watching Squatters. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was a nice story and I found myself rooting for Kelly – but only kind of rooting for Jonas. It’s ­The Three Bears meets Trading Places story that will keep you watching and rooting for the underdog. By the end of the movie, I really wanted to see Kelly come out of it unscathed and seeing what she went through to help the family made me like the character even more. I know I will enjoy watching it again.

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