Title: The Open House
Synopsis: (from imdb) A teenager (Dylan Minnette) and his mother (Piercey Dalton) find themselves besieged by threatening forces when they move into a new house.
If you’re a fan of horror movies where “the black guy dies first”, this movie is for you. To begin, let me tell you I watch a LOT of garbage. As a person who watched horror movies, I have accepted and even embraced the fact that not every movie I screen will be good or even palatable. Still, even in the worst of horror movies so far, I’ve been able to not be disgusted by them. Sure, they’ve been dumb, silly and downright terrible, but there was always a little spark of originality or the fact the movie didn’t take itself too seriously which mitigated its terribleness. This is not the case with The Open House.
If, after my dire warning, you still insist on watching this film in a serious way, read no more. I will be spoiling everything I can. All the spoilers. EVERY ONE!
From both the poster and the movie trailer, the film promises a mysterious movie in which a weekly Open House may or may not be inviting in a killer. The film poster, done in bluish-gray “horror movie tones” showed a shadowy figure standing menacingly in a driveway. Both advertisement mediums indicated a good, scary time lorded over by this scary figure.
When I logged on to Netflix to chill out and watch some reruns of The Office, it popped right up on my feed. So, I said, what the heck? Oh, foolish Dahlia. Foolish, foolish, Dahlia.
I should have known something was up when the movie began with a cliche:
Main character suffers a devastating tragedy.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I’ve seen a LOT of movies (not just horror) and I’m pretty good at recognizing foreshadowing when I see it. As I writer, I have also been known to use the technique a bit. That being said, foreshadowing is supposed to be subtle, but when Dad dropped an egg and the movie showed it cracking open, spilling out the yolk and white all over the floor, I knew Dad was a goner. Then, poor old Dad suggests they go get more eggs. I knew right away, old Dad was gonna be cracked open sooner rather than later. Sure enough, Dad was gone in the first 15 minutes of the movie. Bonus cliche points: the main character sees this happen,
Main character has to relocate because of…whatever issues.
Turns out Dad was a deadbeat and didn’t leave any insurance. So Mom and son have to go to live in her sister’s house, which she just so happens to have up for sale. Which brings us to the next cliche.
New location is located in a remote place with spotty cell service.
On their way to the town, the mother is talking on the cell phone in the car. Sounds like she’s trying to straighten out something with the husband’s estate. Why are you chatting on the phone, driving to a strange place IN THE DARK? Either way she’s driving, in the dark and chatting on the phone. Then she gets mad because the phone
cuts out (cue spotty cell service) Suddenly, a mysterious figure appears at the side of the road, causing mom to slam the brakes and holler, “Did I hit him?”
:::::Mouth open:::::: Heffa, did you hear a thump? I’m sorry, but I’ve got to really ding the movie for this. I can’t with this one. There was no thump….why the heck did you think you hit him? I began to think this movie wasn’t going to have any legs. But it did have cliches! Check out the next one.
Explore a creepy basement/attic with a flashlight.
They get to the house. Bring in their stuff. Then the mother disappears somewhere and the boy is in the kitchen by himself. Oh, look there’s a door! It leads to a basement, WHICH HAS NO LIGHT SWITCH. No worries, just pick up this handy flashlight and go right on down! Also, what was up with the maze in the basement? Stone walls? Is this Wolfenstein? No rhyme or reason, just wander around down there until your mother calls for you. The weird thing was, they never discuss how weird the basement was, not even a throw off line. I tell you what, if I lived in a house like that with a creepy basement, I sure would be on the lookout for, well, creepiness.
Weird/creepy neighbors and/or townsfolk
The characters go into a store or something and an older woman comes up to them. “You must be Logan….and you are Naomi”. Ooooo, spooky. They are on alert. How does this woman know their names. “Oh, your sister emailed me with your pictures.” Okay, why didn’t the sister TELL THEM that? Cheap scary moment. Random crazy woman not so crazy…or is she? You’re back and forth with that, movie. And I despise you for it.
Random scares with chords.
Oh, the tangled web we weave when we try to scare. Sigh. The silly jump scares abound. Unfortunately, no cat scares…that at least would have been mildly entertaining.
Saying “hello” when there’s a weird sound/event.
There’s a scene where Logan, the teenager, is awakened by a honking horn. He gets up, goes to the window and peeks out. There is a car sitting in their driveway, with its lights on bright so he really can’t see anything. He stands there for a while until the car honks its horn. Logan then GOES OUTSIDE (no coat, no shoes) and tries to see who is in the car. What the heck? Then, he goes back to bed and DOES NOT TELL HIS MOTHER. Whaaaa? I dig that they’re kind of estranged because of the father’s death and their poorness, but…..c’mon man!
Not noticing things are out of place/not telling people when weird things happen
You live in a house, an apartment whatever. You know when doors are open and closed, right? Well, these two don’t. The mother goes somewhere in the house, walks past a door. As we watch, the door opens. When she comes back, and walks right past the door, she doesn’t close it, nor does she even seem to register that it’s open in the first place. I just shook my head. By that time in the movie, I was just watching to see what happened.
Kid has a cereal bowl in his room. He goes to do something, and finds his cereal bowl in the living room. Says nothing.
Black guy dies first
So something scary happens, furniture is rearranged when they leave the house. They come back, are shocked, and FINALLY call the police. After trying to keep his mother from even talking to this dude earlier in the movie, Kid invites the only other black guy in the movie besides the cop, Chris, over to, I guess, protect them against the creepy stuff. And also to be the first victim of mysterious killer. Yeah. Bite it, movie, with your oldest cliche in the damn horror movie book.
Note: There are two black men in this movie. One is a red herring and dies first, the other is a police officer and has THREE WORDS to say. This is 2018, right? I thought we were done with the stereotypes and cliches, but I guess not. Bugger off, movie.
As if you didn’t know this already, this movie is not recommended, even for fun. It’s a dud of a movie, and I truly felt I wasted my time watching it. If you want to see the trailer, I’m sure it’s on YouTube. I’ve wasted enough of my life on this movie as it is.
Grade: F-. You are not approved for a mortgage.
Note: There are a few times where I think I say I’m sorry? Well, I’m NOT!!