Step Up’s Briana Evigan hasn’t had much luck recently – she’s been held hostage in Mother’s Day, stalked in Sorority Row and been trapped in a storm with a ravenous tiger in Burning Bright. However, these are nothing compared to what she faces in Stash House – the wrath of Dolph Lundgren. From renowned action producer, Joel Silver, Stash House delivers slick, direct to DVD action thrills.
Young couple Emma (Briana Evigan) and David (Sean Faris) are delighted when they find the home of their dreams for a bargain price. However, things are too good to be true as the couple discover mountains of illegal drugs stashed in the walls. Before they have time to leave, they are stopped by a gun-wielding intruder (Dolph Lundgren) who has other interests in their home.
The strength of Stash House comes from its relatively simple narrative – featuring the basic premise of intruders trying to find a way into Emma and David’s home, whilst the couple try and find a way out. The simple story allows for writer Gary Spinelli and director, Eduardo Rodriguez to put there on narrative and stylistic twists on the home invasion thriller, keeping Stash House fresh and watchable. The most notable of these twists being the sense of voyeuristic unease that Rodriguez shoots the film with – for a large proportion of the feature, we see what goes on outside the house from multiple angled CCTV cameras. This is a great method at capturing the sense of claustrophobia and panic that face the couple in the house.
Rodriguez’s direction is slick with several competently directed action scenes from barrages of gunfire and grenades to tense outdoor chases. However, Stash House may appear slightly lacking when compared to bigger budget home-invasion films like Panic Room and Hostage, featuring somewhat similar premises.
Despite being a vehicle for Lundgren, the most part of Stash House sees us with Evigan and Faris’ characters. The pair are surprisingly convincing, which is rare of supporting performances in the straight to DVD market. However, the two young stars capture the sense of vulnerability and panic required in such roles, whilst both proving to be likeable talents. Of course, most of the audience will be watching for Lundgren, who does not disappoint – bringing a sense of menace and skewed charm to the role of intruder, Andrew Spector. Spinelli has attempted to bring slightly more depth to the role, showing that Spector is not completely evil – just a man trying to do a job and support his family.
Eduardo Rodriguez’s Stash House is successful in its attempt to bring some freshness to the home-invasion feature thanks to some stylistic twists and a well crafted sense of atmosphere. Likeable performances from Briana Evigan and Sean Faris, alongside an action-packed appearance from Dolph Lundgren keeps Stash House enjoyable, although it may prove to be somewhat forgettable in the long run.
Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Sean Faris,Briana Evigan
Director: Eduardo Rodriguez
DVD/BR Release: 3rd September 2012
Certificate: 15 (UK)