'The Open House': A Movie Review
After a freak accident that kills her husband, an unemployed Naomi Wallace along with her teenage son, Logan, is left with past-due bills and no way to pay them. Following the services for her husband, Naomi's sister offers to let them stay in their mountain house. Although the home is currently on the market, she assures them it's perfectly fine, as long as they're out of the home for the open house on Sunday's.
So, after pulling Logan from school they move from California to a mountain home in Colorado where they know no one and apparently, Logan no longer needs to attend school. I'm still confused on how that works. The little mountain town is full of weird and creepy people, as most small mountain towns are in movies, but more of them come across as just overplayed, they all try just a little too hard to be in the running for a potential bad guy.
During the first night in their new location, weird things start to happen, pointing to their neighbor Martha as the cause. Things get a little more intense, or at least that's what the music is trying to convey, after the first open house. Items within the home go missing or are moved from one room to another. Water suddenly turns ice cold during a gratuitous shower scene, then again during another shower scene.
While all of this is playing out, Naomi and Logan are at odds with each other. She's angry because her husband died, leaving them with debt that she can't pay; and he's angry because she never asked how he was doing after the death, even though he witnessed the whole thing.
A few additional characters are introduced throughout the film to add to the list of suspects for the odd things happening in the home, but in all honesty, they just feel like fillers, not really adding anything of value to the story.
Eventually, things finally kick into high gear and a killer emerges. Unfortunately, by the time this happened, I'd become bored with the movie and had to keep myself from grabbing my cell phone and scrolling through Instagram.
Main Cast / Characters
Behind The Scenes
Director, Writer, Producer
Director, Writer, Producer
This was a tough one for me to pick. Not because there were so many to choose from, but because none of the characters were stand-out characters or even characters that I particularly enjoyed. But, having to choose one for the sake of this review, I'd have to choose Chris. Even though his was only a supporting role, he was the least annoying and most likable one.
The only quote from this movie that I even gave a second thought was in the beginning when they meet Martha at the market and she says, "The quiet out here can get real loud". I only wrote this one down because of the fact that some people can't stand to be alone and I've heard the saying, "silence is deafening". But it's not like this particularly hit home with me, gave me chills or even made me stop to ponder its link to the rest of the film.
Well, let's see. The location was pretty. The concept is good.
I'm not sure where to start with this one. I don't want it to seem like I was nitpicking throughout the entire movie, but in all honesty, I was.
The music, by far, is my biggest nitpick. More fitting for a slasher flick, most of the music seemed out of place and over-the-top for this particular film.
Another nitpick I had that literally made me say, "that's not how that works", is the way the water in the shower suddenly turned ice cold. Do the writers not know that there's an entire tank full of hot water that has to be run out before the water gets cold, and even then it's a gradual process? And the act of lighting the pilot light on a gas water heater does not, in fact, result in immediate hot water. I couldn't let this one slide because it didn't happen just one time, it happened three times, with two of them being within minutes of each other. Next time, at least opt for a tank-less water heater so it's more plausible.
I also didn't understand the use of a few quick-cut edits within the film either. Loud, sometimes screeching music, with absolutely nothing going on visually, then a hard cut to a quiet, normal scene.
Other small inconsistencies that always make me cringe are things like a broken stair that's an issue in one scene with one character, but never an issue with any other character throughout the rest of the film.
And can we talk about the unanswered question of that blocked tunnel in the basement? No spoilers here because we see it once and then never again. I can only assume that we're supposed to believe this is the secret way in and out of the house, but we'll never know because it's never brought up again.
There are several more involving Martha, the plumber and a bowl of cereal, but that might be a little too much for a simple review.
Would I Recommend?
I might recommend this movie to someone who I know doesn't really like horror movies, or just wants to dip their toe into the horror genre pool. Otherwise, I'd have to pass on the recommendation and go for something better, like Hush.
With that being said, my rating for this movie on the Own/Theater/Rent/Netflix scale, this is a definite Netflix watch only.
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