THE GLASS HOUSE
In truth, The Glass House is far more old-fashioned in origin than Scream and imitators and their reliance on 1980s slasher films. It is a Gothic thriller and a rehash of a subgenre of sinister new home stories, best exemplified by Flowers in the Attic (1987), to which this has many similarities. The twists and turns of the plot are tried and true for this form it doesnt take too much to see that the designer Malibu beachfront home as a sinister Gothic mansion in modern guise.
One didnt have much in the way of expectation for The Glass House, despite the presence of Wesley Strick on the script. [Wesley Strick has written fine scripts like Cape Fear (1991), Wolf (1994) and directed The Tie That Binds (1995). Strick also seems to have a recurrent interest in malevolent adoptions The Glass House has two children in fear of their new adoptive parents, while The Tie That Binds was about two adoptive parents in fear of their new childs evil birth parents]. That said, The Glass House pleasantly surprises. The script runs to predictable clichés. Most of the plot elements the inheritance, the school inspector, the Mafia thugs, Leelee Sobieskis story not being believed have easy arcs that never stray far from genre predictability. The script tends to be constructed more in terms of sinister circumstance than plausible reason for things happening it is never made clear why Leelee Sobieski and her brother have to sleep together in the same room. Moreover, the way Stellan Skarsgård and Diane Lane manage to change this without notice in a single day, which also happens to be the very day that the welfare inspector visits, is not entirely plausible.
Nevertheless, from out of these elements, Wesley Strick and director Daniel Sackheim do an effective job of imbuing the film with sinister effect and threatening ambiguity. The film is beautifully photographed and Daniel Sackheim has a particularly good way of lighting the house and framing shots for maximum sinister effect threat, making Leelee Sobieski visually as much a trapped victim as she is circumstantially. The film also leaves one with a strong sense of the legal powerlessness of minors.
The Glass House was also one of a new series of PG-13 horror films, following Joe Liebermans fascistic crackdown on the advertising of R-rated films during the 2000 election. [See also Soul Survivors (2001), which premiered one week before The Glass House]. Although The Glass House doesnt give any evidence of recutting, it does seem to touch upon themes some violence, suggestions of Stellan Skarsgårds indecent intents toward minor Leelee Sobieski, drug use and sanctioned murder on the heroines part at the end that seem awkward in a PG-13 film and to properly belong more to an R-rated film.
Glass House 2: The Good Mother (2006) was a sequel that replayed the basics of this film with different characters.