Today, I am continuing my intrepid journey into Netflix original horror movies to bring you a review of The Open House. This 2018 film is a low budget intruder story that seems pretty creepy from the preview and trailer. Unfortunately, the movie does not deliver at all. To me, it was really boring and the character motivations made no sense.
What’s it about?
Logan Wallace is a regular teenager living with his parents, who are hurting for money. Things only get worse when his father is killed in a hit-and-run. At the wake, a family friend offers for them to stay at her mountain vacation house that she’s selling as long as they leave during open houses. So, Logan and his mom pile into the car and put their own house up for rent to make some cash. They encounter a creepy shopkeeper and a seemingly spectral man on the road before the real weird stuff starts happening. During an open house, while the Wallaces are gone, an intruder comes in and hides. The audience only sees his black boots, never his face.
At this point, you’d expect this to become a slasher movie, but you’d be wrong. Initially, the guy just does minor things, like moving objects slightly, turning off the hot water, and just in general sneaking around the house. At the climax of the movie, he kills a friend of the mother, knocks out Logan, and leaves the boy for dead by the side of a river. Oh, and, while trying to escape, Logan accidentally stabs his mom, killing her. That also happens, for some reason. Anyway, the movie ends with the intruder’s car driving down a road, in the direction of another open house.
Start with the positives.
I thought the sound design of this movie was pretty good. It definitely set an eerie tone, which was necessary for a movie that took place in a gorgeous vacation house. I also thought that the way the camera kept a shallow focus the whole time gave the film an interesting look. That was definitely very noticeable, and might have been used to play up Logan’s bad eyesight. This next one is probably just me, but I thought it was funny how the character’s name was Logan, given the fact that Dylan Minette often gets mistaken for Logan Lerman. Overall, though, there was not a lot about this movie that I liked.
Okay, get to the good stuff
This movie is full of plot items that you think are going to lead somewhere and be relevant but instead are just dropped. Creepy guy jump scaring them on the way up to the house? Has nothing to do with the story. Son being an amazing runner? Nothing to do with the plot at all. Creepy shopkeeper who might be delusional about her husband’s death? Nope, nothing at all to do with the story. If this movie were written better, all of these things would have been a part of the intruder’s plan.
Let’s talk about the intruder, actually. What was his endgame? He didn’t seem to want to kill either of the Wallaces. He didn’t buy the house. So why was he sneaking around trying to scare them without doing them permanent harm? Also, from a filmmaking standpoint, why was his identity never revealed? It seemed like the fact that he was only seen from the ankle down would lead to a surprising reveal, but it just added up to nothing.
To me, the open house felt like all the worst qualities of Netflix movies combined. The budget was low, the script was messy and disorganized, and the performances were flat. Like almost all Netflix horror movies, the trailer made it seem way scarier and more interesting than it actually was. I would not recommend this movie to anyone, especially when there are way better examples of horror on the website (some of which you can find by checking out my other reviews). Overall, The Open House felt like a real waste of time.(1 / 5)