Directed by Padraig Reynolds, ‘Open 24 Hours’ is a horror slasher film that revolves around a remote 24-hour gas station called Deer Gas Market. After her release from prison, Mary starts a job at the gas station during the overnight graveyard shift. However, soon her paranoid hallucinations start blurring with reality when she starts seeing her convicted ex-boyfriend James Lincolnfields, the local serial killer dubbed the “Rain Ripper.” As the night progresses, Mary tries to survive the night and faces her past trauma in the process.
Starring Vanessa Grasse, Brendan Fletcher, and Daniel O’Meara, among others, the 2018 film utilizes the protagonist Mary’s PTSD and clinical delusion to craft a suspenseful narrative that keeps the audience on their toes. It builds an atmosphere of captivity and isolation by confining the story within a secluded and compact location. Given the serial killer-centric narrative of the film, viewers might wonder about the correlation between the film’s plotline and reality. Therefore, here is everything we know about the inspiration behind ‘Open 24 Hours.’
Is Open 24 Hours a True Story?
No, ‘Open 24 Hours’ is not based on a true story. Writer and director Padraig Reynolds first came up with the idea for ‘Open 24 Hours’ in 2010 while shooting in Mississippi for his debut feature film, ‘Rites of Spring.’ “The producers found this great gas station in Mississippi. It was isolated away from the rest of the town, and it [the gas station] was pretty much just used for farmers, hunters, and stuff like that. I thought this is a great gas station. I should write a whole movie around this.” Reynolds said in an interview with Clout Communications.
“That night, I went back to my hotel room, and over the years, I formed the backstory. You know why Mary works in this gas station.” Reynolds added. The film follows ex-convict Mary who is out on parole after being imprisoned for her involvement in a string of local serial killings. Mary’s ex-boyfriend James Lincolnfields is a serial killer who forced Mary to watch him perform his murders after threatening her and her family’s lives.
Eventually, Mary couldn’t put up with the killings anymore and set her house on fire with her boyfriend still inside. A few months later, after Mary starts her new job in an isolated gas station, escaped prisoner James comes after her. As such, the premise of basing a film around an eerie gas station has been in the cards for ‘Open 24 Hours’ since its inception. The concept of extracting horror from seclusion can be found in numerous other films. In fact, isolated horror forms a significant subgenre within the horror film industry.
Movies like ‘Midsommar,’ ‘Get Out‘ and cult classic ‘The Shining‘ all exist within this same subgenre. Base premise aside, Vanessa Grasse’s character Mary, influences and drives much of the plot progression. Mary embodies a deeply traumatized young woman with PTSD who tries her best to get her life together. Through Mary’s complex character, the narrative delves into complicated themes of paranoia and trauma rehabilitation. Her past relationship with her abusive ex-boyfriend is intricately interweaved within the overall arc of the movie.
As such, the film incorporates a deeply personal issue into its narrative. In doing so, ‘Open 24 Hours’ compels the viewers to empathize with the central character and connect with her story. “Mary is a great female character,” Reynolds said while discussing his protagonist. “A well-rounded protagonist that you feel for. And you want her to conquer her demons.” The film creates a sense of realism and familiarity by employing several horror subgenre tropes and plot devices.
The serial killer angle in the Padraig Reynolds directorial brings an exciting and thrilling reflection of reality. Moreover, it depicts intense, troubling themes of trauma, past abuse, and delusion in a horror setting without trivializing them. With the help of relatable characters and a grounded narrative environment, the film presents an intriguing and mysterious slasher story. Nevertheless, ‘Open 24 Hours’ is not based on or inspired by any real-life incidents or events.
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