The Open House (2018)

You can't lock out what's already inside.

https://www.netflix.com/title/80198661

A teenager and his mother find themselves besieged by threatening forces when they move into a new house.

It's almost like someone forgot to finish writing this film...
It starts off well enough, even if the basic premise is a little well worn. Son with a bright future loses his father suddenly, so mother and son have to shift to the middle of nowhere to make ends meet and cope with their grief. The house they shift into belongs to a family member who is trying to sell it, so on weekends it is staged as an open house.
Of course as soon as the open house viewings start, strange things start happening. This is where the film starts falling apart. The film-makers can't seem to decide between implying that the occurrences maybe supernatural or someone who came to the viewing but never left. Which is fine to add a little mystery, but the mystery isn't engaging, there is no hook to it. Slightly odd things happen for no real rhyme or reason. You keep expecting there to be a nugget of information as to why they are being targeted, but you get nothing.
When the film finally decides to settle on the menacing slasher route and stick to it, the wheels completely fall off, and this film starts crashing hard. The film spends 3/4 of its running time raising questions and answers none of them, but not in an ambiguous way, just in a sloppy writing way.
There's no explanation, no reason why, no back-story, and the killer is constantly blurred, out of focus or in shadow so you never see what he looks like. Those elements can work, classic films like Duel you never see the psycho truck driver, but at least he has motivation. In Halloween you never know why Michael Myers goes on a rampage but you get a physical sense of what he looks like, even if you don't really get a good look at his face. But combining no back-story stalking, with a complete lack of motivation and no decent look at the killer just doesn't work. You don't care what is happening because there is no reason for it, and not much to look at while it happens. The protagonists might as well be getting attacked by a shadow. There is nothing scary or interesting about the killer, because the killer really is nothing apart from a pair of boots.
There is absolutely nothing under the surface with this film. There is no metaphor, there is nothing to learn, no twist, no insight to grief, no character revelations. Just retreaded clichés poorly packaged to give you a boring and pointless final product.
Avoid this film, it is a waste of your time

By Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote.
Stars: Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton, Patricia Bethune, Sharif Atkins.

Genres: Horror, Thriller

Keywords: grief death of father unknown killer woman director open house intruder mother son relationship

01/19/2018

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