Netflix continue their march towards 100% original content with the recent release of the new Horror/Thriller film ‘The Open House’ staring ’13 Reasons Why’ Dylan Minnette. The streaming giant obviously has high hopes for the release of this film as it featured in the top banner after login, the trailer playing automatically as soon as I opened the application. From the trailer I was intrigued. Aside from the somewhat generic home invasion angle it gave off a ‘small town’ vibe that I have come to love ever since watching Twin Peaks, not to say that this film is anything like Twin Peaks, because it isn’t. In fact, forget I said anything about Twin Peaks. This film is bad. There is no other way to put it.
What starts off as a slow meandering tale of characters being tormented by an unknown person after having been allowed access during an open house quickly escalates into nothing. As the credits rolled my partner and I turned to one another and both said “Oh, was that it?”.
Throughout the runtime the film does the usual horror set up; focuses on items that are sure to be seen again, introducers weird characters that might be involved, and other stuff like that. Yet the majority of what is set up does not receive a pay off. In fact what quickly becomes apparent is that almost everything is a red herring, which only makes the ending more infuriating. Instead of giving us answers to these weird goings we are are presented with no explanation other than ‘mysterious stranger likes to torment people’. All of the possible suspects – the crazy neighbour, a possibly dead husband, the too keen shop assistant, the grumpy plumber – and the hints that surround them are wasted for a reason that I cannot begin to understand. For a possible sequel hook maybe? Had the film actually gone with one of the endings that it had hinted at then the film could have been forgiven for its downsides.
In addition to the awful ending the movie on a whole has a hard time setting up scares and building tension, focusing more on the use of overly loud music and a jumpy main character than actual scares. In one scene (involving a bed and some photographs) what was meant to come across as terrifying is actually laughable, included for no other reason than to add another voyeuristic layer to proceedings. The main problem with this is that, by this point in the film, we already know that the main characters are being watched as they sleep, we are literally shown it happening. If this had not been the case than the reveal in that scene would have worked. However it came across that the only reason for its inclusion was to make the trailer look good.
The film on a whole is boring. The tension and scares fail throughout with an ending so lazy that I’m surprised that Netflix paid actual money to create this. The only Horror elements that this film has is how awful it is.
Watch again? – No
Buy on Dvd/Blu Ray – No