It is amazing how often we jeopardise our safety by exposing ourselves to strangers. We post personal details online, photos of ourselves on holiday, all without processing how this openness could be used against us. What’s worst is this could potentially not be a stranger, it could be someone we already know. In early 2018, a Netflix film pre-supposed what would be the repercussions, of this trust being used against us in their offering The Open House.
We meet young Logan training to be a professional runner, his Dad is supportive and enthusiastic about his son’s prospect to a fault. All that changes when Logan’s father is killed in a freak hit-and-run accident. This event has devastating repercussions, forcing them to live in a family member’s empty house as they downsize to a smaller home. They open the home up to potential buyers, but as peculiar occurrences occur, it becomes apparent that people who come to this house, may not have the best intentions.
The film is masterfully filled with red herrings and false alarms to keep you guessing at every turn. Most of these come from the behaviour of our protagonists, whose motivations for their actions appear odd and unsettling. Is this sudden behavioural shift due to processing grief, or is it something a lot more sinister? This unease is crafted with care by Dylan Minnette, and his mother played by Piercey Dalton, she is the mechanism how we see the world and provides a grounded vantage point into the uncertainty The Open House is drenched in.
The house itself is big, wooden and secluded, at times evoking a miniature version of The Overlook Hotel with its penchant for wood. The death of Logan’s farther and his absence from the family dynamic only exasperates the huge labyrinth that is their current lodging, with lots of hiding places and lots of ways to play tricks. With the property based up in snowy & cold community only adds to this feeling of isolation. The locals help too, with a seemingly eccentric and erratic lady, called Martha who like everything else in this film, has more to their selves than first appearances.
The Open House does what horror does best, take a realistic scenario, rank up the worst nightmare factor by ten and let’s loose. Making for a creepy and unsettling tale that will gleefully instill doubts within you. Mainly about the strangers you’ll meet day-to-day on the streets or the strangers at home. One thing is for certain, The Open House will leave you deeply concerned the next time you’ll have to deal with anybody… especially when selling a house.
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