The new thriller from Spanish writer-director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) is visually dazzling, but the story starts off silly and ends up a confusing, maddening mess.
Open Windows is seen entirely through the lens of online cameras, beginning with the one on the laptop of Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood), a blogger in an Austin hotel room preparing to meet his idol, the sexy sci-fi queen Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey).
Suddenly, a man calling himself Chord (Neil Maskell) begins speaking to Nick through that computer — and opening pop-up screens that give Nick access to Jill’s private life, including her bedroom. Believing that he’s helping Jill, Nick is manipulated into committing a crime, and ends up running from the police, and from Chord, who turns out to be as villainous as his creepy voice suggests.
Vigalondo fills the screen with countless mini-screens and guides our eye to specific action with stylish ease, but once Nick leaves his hotel room, the director loses his grip on the story, which becomes an exhausting whirl of inane plot twists.
Wood has a natural charisma, but he’s ill-served by Vigalondo, who’s so busy juggling cameras that he makes an unforgivable error: He loses track of his star.