The Open House (2018) reviewed by Jonathan Berk
The Open House (2018) is a Netflix Original film that fails in every aspect imaginable. It’s a jumbled mess that introduces ideas that go nowhere, and it has a character outline the plot in case the audience (and probably the directors) forget what this movie is about. Unfortunately, Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why and Goosebumps) turns in a pretty bad performance, prompting one to wonder if this film was obligatory in exchange for his lead role on 13 Reasons Why.
The Open House needs to shut its door and not let anyone else in
After witnessing his father’s tragic death, Logan (Minnette) and his mother, Naomi (Piercey Dalton), move into her sister’s mountain house that is currently on sale. They’re able to live their normally – except for Sundays when the realtor hosts open house events. After meeting a few weird people (the humans in this world act like performers in a movie reading a bad script), Dylan and his mom go for a day out to allow the realtors the house. When they return, Dylan ponders a line of dialogue that says something along the lines of “aren’t open houses weird…” and “strangers are let in and then realtors shut it down but don’t search to make sure everyone’s gone.” Yeah…that’s the plot…kind of.
If you’re thinking that you can’t handle scary movies…don’t worry, this really isn’t one. The score will attempt to tell you – very early on, even – that this is a horror movie, but the directors decide to just tease the audience with pointless camera movements and lame jump scares by people who are no threat to anyone. There is a moment where directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote decide to employ a zolly shot – a combined zoom and dolly move – on the back of Logan that leads to absolutely nothing. It doesn’t reveal a revelation, nor does something happen to him or around him. Instead, they just cut to another scene where…nothing will happen.
In fact, the delivery on the premise of the man living in the house who likely snuck in after open house doesn’t really get going until the last twenty minutes. When things finally begin to happen, they go to extremes. There is a short sequence late in the movie that is essentially torture porn, which finally actually delivers on the horror element of this film. However, it’s not anything impressive and doesn’t make up for all the time wasted.
There are moments in this film where the only appropriate reaction is to toss your hands up in the air and ask “what the hell is going on?”. It’s frustrating, and a sheer waste of talent and the audience’s time. The movie doesn’t seem to know what it is wanting to do. The Open House earns the Avoid Like the Plague Rating.