So on Friday the 13ths I celebrate with Horror films and pizza!
This year my niece joined me and I let her pick the movie we would start with and she chose Open House from Netflix.
I thought this film was interesting but I also have mixed feelings about the film. Some things I liked about it, but other things I think they could have done better.
The film starts off with out main character Logan Wallace (Dylan Minnette), who wants to be an Olympic star and trains with his dad. They have to go out later to get milk and his father is killed when a car hits him.
The family has a lot of debts and the mom can’t keep their house. Her rich sister attends the funeral and offers up her vacation home that she and her husband are trying to sell. All they have to promise is to leave when the realtors are showing the house off. Now I understand what the movie is trying to do, get them to this secluded place in the middle of nowhere, but this doesn’t make any sense. Why would the mom leave CA and whatever job she had to move to Nevada, to the middle of nowhere to stay in this fancy mansion, but one she will only be able to use until the house is sold, something that the sister wants to happen right away. I know that houses take time to close when they go into escrow but it seems weird to me that she would uproot her life and only source of income for a few months and take him out of school (it’s right before Christmas) to nowhere and then what, after a few months uproot again? Where will she go after that?
And if her sister is so rich why can’t they just stay with her?
So the Logan and his mom move to the middle of nowhere, up on top of a mountain, where the nearest neighbor is super far. While they are there, weird things start happening. A local guy, Chris, is too friendly, he borders on creepy, is always trying to talk to them and even comes over to the house randomly because he has “always wanted to see inside it”. They actually let him, and just leave him there, never checking to see if he left the house. He also keeps hitting on the mom and trying to be Logan’s friend.
The realtor lady who is showing the house is extremely abusive to her assistant, and terribly rude to Logan and his mom. This is a weird interaction as they could tell their sister/aunt and she could fire her and go with another company.
Then there is the next door neighbor, Martha, who although she is miles away, switches from being too friendly at times (all up in their business) to being angry and unfriendly (it turns out that she has dementia…or does she?).
But besides these bizarre people, even stranger things happen in the house. Such as Logan’s phone getting stolen, things keep disappearing, when the mom takes a shower the water heater keeps being turned off, they hear footsteps in the house when there is no one there.
Yet the relationship between the mother and son is very odd, it doesn’t quite make sense at times. Now I have worked with grieving families, I used to be part of a program where we had the parents and kids separated, allowing each family component to work on their grief separately, allowing both parents and kids the freedom to share how they felt. So I know many different types of grief and how teens and parents act. There were times when Logan and his mom interacted that were perfectly normal for grieving people, but then there are times when it is off. Such as the mother doesn’t seem to think it is weird or strange that her son’s phone has completely disappeared, even though they are the only ones in the house-only for it to turn up later on the counter in plain view. Or how this repeats with other objects and items.
Then we have the water heater issue. The mother keeps trying to take a shower and every time the hot water turns off and she is upset and yells at her son for doing it, who says he didn’t. She yells at him and marches barefoot in a towel to the frozen basement to turn it back on. She tries again to take a shower and the whole thing repeats several times before she decides to call a repairman. It made no sense why she would think her son would even do that and repeat it. He has never done anything remotely “prankster” so why would she even think he would be messing with her? If he was acting angry toward her maybe, but he doesn’t. Most of the time he sits in his room alone and sad.
Then the mom finds pictures of her sleeping and doing things, and pictures her son and she thinks he did it. I’m like how could he even take that picture of himself while he was asleep and the photo is clearly taken from the doorway. Eventually they call the police who don’t help, and it’s like really, the police would do more. But by far the thing that makes absolutely no sense is when the house gets broken into-they never call the sister and ask her to change the locks which is what I would have immediately done. I don’t understand that at all. Yes nothing that they know of was taken, but still they are in the middle of nowhere, on top of a mountain, and it takes a while for police to respond. You think changing the locks would be a good idea.
Eventually death comes for them and we know nothing about who the killer is or why they did it. It is just a stranger that likes to go to open houses and kill people. I think if this had been a short, it would be better but as a film I found it lacking.
So originally I thought that there was a person who was squatting in the house, like hiding in the basement or in the walls and I think that would have been more interesting.
So, yeah I was not a fan.
But what did I like? I LOVED that the main character wore glasses and it was accurately portrayed in the way he struggled to see in the morning, how he loses his glasses and just the way they incorporated it. I have never seen a film so accurate in its portrayal of one who wears glasses, and as one who wears glasses it made it the film scarier for me. I’m nearsighted, meaning I can’t see far away, and if I lost my glasses I’d probably end up dead (in a horror film).
As a whole, even though it had good parts, I would recommend just skipping this film.
For more strangers in the house, go to Have You Checked the Children?: When a Stranger Calls (1979)