Netflix has been killing the entertainment game recently, bringing us fantastic content after fantastic content and I was sure The Open House wouldn’t be an exception. After all, Netflix seemed pleased enough with this movie to display it loud and proud on their homepage and with 13 Reasons Why’s own Dylan Minnette as the leading actor I went into this movie with nothing more than open-minded optimism… and I was massively disappointed.
That being said, I am still going to give you the good, the bad and the down-right geeky about this movie.
I am sure this section will be fairly brief because, in truth, there was very little that I actually liked about this movie. From first glance there is nothing overtly bad about it, it was well acted, both Dylan Minnette and Piercey Dalton, the leading protagonists perform well, it was clearly well budgeted and the cinematics of the movie were far from horrendous, it was just unfortunate that everything else about this movie was terrible.
Where to begin… What is the main reason we as an audience watch a movie? For the plot. With horror in particular we want to be sucked into a blissful few hours of terror and escapism and it was unfortunately the plot, or lack thereof, that let this movie massively down and ultimately lead to its flop, despite Netflix’s best efforts to keep it afloat. In truth, I don’t think the story quite knew what it was doing, the entire duration of the movie felt as though it was merely trying to find its footing by constantly teasing plot-lines that never happen. SPOILER ALERT For example, the creepy neighbour, Naomi’s nose-bleed, the jumpy real-estate agent; the movie constantly tries to appear more interesting than it really is by dangling these potential plot points in front of you, hinting to possible narratives but none of these leads actually link to anything and if they had maybe this movie wouldn’t have been so catastrophically bad as the ending is completely unrelated and felt really out of place. It was anticlimactic to say the least!
Additionally, this movie included parts that served literally no purpose, not even as legitimised horror elements. SPOILER ALERT For example, we learn Logan is a talented runner that is training to become a professional athlete but it isn’t really addressed in the main bulk of the film. I feel like we learn these things as a very obvious attempt to build Logan’s character, yet Logan, a fast runner cannot outrun a killer that appears to be in much worse shape than he is, so why do we learn this? It ultimately serves no point to the plot. In the same turn the movie felt like it was missing out so much that would have added some much needed depth to its narrative. SPOILER ALERT We never learn about Logan’s father’s killer, we also never find out about the open house killer, his motives, his identity, we never even properly see him! No real depth is given to any of the actual key plot points, it simply skates from one point to the other and as a result, there was no real tension in this movie. Even in the last 30 minutes, when the killer actually begins to take action it just sort of… happens, there is no suspense and so you are just left confused, underwhelmed and frankly aggravated.
This movie was written and directed by both Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote who are both relatively new to the film industry and don’t have a huge plethora of experience in writing and directing movies. This may be an excuse for the poor execution of The Open House, but, when we compare it to films such as Robert Eggers, The Witch or the huge success of David Robert Mitchell’s, It Follows and consider that both of these directors wrote, directed and produced two fantastic horror movies with little experience and a lower-budget, it is hard not to hold these two accountable for the lacklustre plot of this movie. However, everyone has to start somewhere and I am optimistic that any future movies written or directed by Matt Angel or Suzanne Coote will be better written and more conceptually thought out.