Review: The Open House
Netflix has been putting out more original films as of late due to their loss of television shows and movies to other streaming services. For the most part, a majority of their original films are received rather well, some even receiving recognition from the Academy's. The Open House is one of their first attempts and creating a thriller, and for the most part it fails in just about every aspect. The Open House fails to deliver thrills and rather nonsensical making it incredibly dull. It stars Dylan Minnette, from Netflix's popular 13 Reasons Why, which i could imagine that Netflix cast him to cash in on the popularity of that show and help boost the interest in this film. Minnette has shown himself to be a talented young actor, but this film does him no favors. Netflix rarely has any kind of bombs or failures, but The Open House qualifies as just that.
The plot follows Logan Wallace (Minnette) as teenager who seemingly has his whole life out in front of him and he is a rather gifted track star. However, he and his mother (Piercey Dalton), experience a horrible loss as Logan witnesses his father's unfortunate death. Due to this, the Wallace family is thrust into a terrible financial situation in which they lose their home. Naomi Wallace's sister suggests that she and Logan stay in her vacation home which she has up for sale while they get their feet back underneath themselves. Upon arriving at the house, Logan and Naomi notice that there are plenty of creepy neighbors. The Wallace's occasionally have to leave the house due to it being an open house, which Logan thinks is a bit weird, the idea of letting complete strangers guide more strangers through your house. This paranoia leads him and his mother to some paranoia as they begin to feel threatened thinking that someone is in the house with them. The neighbors also seem to be rather off-putting as they frequently make strange comments.
The Open House fails in large part due to a slow moving and dull plot, while also crafting boring characters that make it difficult for the audience to care about. Matt Angel wrote and directed the film with Suzanne Coote and for their directorial debut the did a rather poor job sadly. The two have worked primarily on television shows such as Legends of Tommorow and Grimm, and in this they failed to create any real tension. In fact, any of the scares are telegraphed and obvious to the viewers as there is nothing in this film that is original. Angel and Coote'ss inexperience very well could have been a big reason as to why this film failed so massively. In thrillers, background music can often help craft a much more tense environment and yet again that is another area where this film fails.
The character of Logan Wallace is a driven but resentful character but much like the film, a rather boring character that isn't anymore likable due to the performance by Dylan Minnette. Minnette goes through the film with the same expressions throughout and his co-star Piercey Dalton suffers from the same shortcomings. Both characters are poor written and the performances by both actors don't alleviate the characters to a point where they can even be likable. Dalton's character, Naomi, is a widow who is struggling to find her own happiness while also trying to keep her son happy, but yet continuously makes terrible decisions. Dalton and Minnette fail to deliver on the grief that they are both feeling, and if the writers decided to focus on that then the characters may have been more likable and or relatable. Their grief, as horrible as it may be, would allow the viewers to then have something in common with the audience, instead the attention in the film is directed more at the happenings within the house, as minor as some of them are and lastly the neighbors. Overall, the film gets two stars out of five due to the shortcomings of the writers and directors in their directorial debut as they failed to create a compelling plot with equally compelling characters. All of it falls on it's face rather quickly as the plot moves at the pace of a snail and it's characters fail to grab our attention.