The Open House: Netflix Film Review

Usually I don’t enjoy watching trailers for films because they can often give away plot twists and storylines, but when I watched the trailer for ‘The Open House’ it was entirely the opposite; very little information was given away. I thought this was a sign that there would be many surprises in the film that they didn’t want to spoil, but unfortunately, the film was exactly how the trailer was: vague. This was a shame as I actually thought the trailer set the film up to be very mysterious since it gave away very little.

The Netflix original film stars Dylan Minnette, who plays Logan Wallace, a teenage boy struggling to cope with the death of his father in a car crash he witnessed, and Piercey Dalton, who plays Naomi Wallace, Logan’s mother who makes the decision for Logan and her to move into her sister’s holiday house which is for sale. Most people probably know Dylan Minnette for his portrayal of Clay Jensen in the Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why’, and I thought the film would be good if he is in it. Unfortunately, this did was not the case.

Film Summary

The film surrounds the aforementioned Logan and Naomi Wallace, who are struggling both emotionally and financially after the death of Brian Wallace, husband to Naomi and father to Logan, played by Aaron Abrams. They go to stay in Naomi’s sister’s house, where they experience a variety of strange encounters, such as Logan’s phone going missing and being found in the basement, the hot water tank in the basement randomly switching off and the landline phone ringing but when they answer the phone nobody speaks. We are also introduced to a couple of other characters, such as Martha, played by Patricia Bethune, a woman who has Alzheimer’s and behaves erratically, and Chris, played by Sharif Atkins, who is a store clerk and strikes up a friendship with Naomi and later befriends Logan, who is initially put off by Chris and Naomi’s flirting. Certain events, such as a crumpled-up photo in the bin, cause Naomi to believe Logan is messing with her, despite his insistence that he doesn’t know what she is talking about. Eventually, there is a reported break in, and they realise that there is definitely something weird going on in the house, especially as police officers find nobody responsible for the break in. Logan calls Chris and asks him to spend the night at the house with them after all of this. That night, Logan notices a car in the driveway and goes to investigate. He finds Chris has been murdered in the front seat of the car, and as he is investigating this, an unknown man knocks Logan unconscious. The unknown man then gets into bed with Naomi as she is looking through photos. She notices there have been photos taken of her and Logan whilst they have been sleeping, and the unknown man attacks her and ties her up. He then breaks her fingers and leaves a knife by her, presumably so Logan will untie her when he finds her. Logan does so and then leaves to look for a phone to call the police or to find the man himself. He hears his mother’s cries from the basement and goes to find her, but when Naomi startles him Logan ends up stabbing her. Naomi tells him to run away and she is left dying. He is chased by the unknown man, who removes Logan’s contact lenses leaving him unable to identify the unknown man, but Logan manages to get away. He survives the night but the unknown man eventually finds and murders Logan, before driving off to another open house event.

What I thought of the film

The storyline is very much a horror film cliché, with the creepy house and the random scary events, but the film doesn’t add anything extra to this basic storyline. Logan himself is an average teenager, but apart from him enjoying running and being good at it, we don’t really learn what else defines him as a person. The film is also rather boring and the pace is very slow for much of the film, with most of the action towards the last fifteen minutes or so of the film. I understand that horrors and thrillers do not necessarily have a lot of action until the end, but it felt that there was not really much build up to the main event.

Since the unknown man is left unidentified by the end of the film, we do not know what this man’s motivation was for killing Naomi, Logan and Chris, or what his relationship to open houses even is. He doesn’t appear to be a ghost so I don’t believe he used to own the house and is now haunting people who stay in his house, especially as he is seen driving to another open house (I think there was supposed to be a bit of a twist as most people probably believed Martha and her strange behaviour was the reason weird things keep happening, and this turned out to not be the case, but the mention of her Alzheimer’s took away this twist way before the final event). So, because we have no motives, we don’t really understand why this is all happening, and the strange events don’t make much sense, as collectively they don’t really do much to tell the story; it feels as though a bunch of weird happenings were thrown together just to fit the genre of the film. The only suspect which makes sense to be the unknown man is the man who killed Logan’s father in the car crash, although it is stated the man was suffering a heart attack at the time when he crashed into Brian, so this is unlikely to be the case. It could be someone related to the man in the car crash but even then, I am not sure what the motivation would be, as Logan could not remember much about the crash, wouldn’t be able to identify the man responsible and therefore he would have no reason to kill Logan.

Conclusion

Overall, this film was below my expectations. The acting was convincing but unfortunately the story was too bland to be really entertaining, and the characters were not particularly well defined or interesting. Supporting characters like Chris, Martha, the plumber who fixes the hot water tank etc. seemed like suspects but didn’t add anything to the overall story and were just mysterious characters purely for the sake of adding mystery. The ‘villain’ of the story remains unknown and therefore his actions appear random and unnecessary. It is just a shame since Netflix has been able to produce so many great films and shows, but this just happens to be one of the worse ones.

Author: thisisthelifeofzen

Just a 23 year old who hopes to successfully share her thoughts on everything grief related - and maybe other topics too, one day

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