A Top Contender For Worst Film Of The Year
When it comes to Netflix Original films, the quality is unpredictable at best. Complete with jump scares, long, drawn out segments that fail to move the plot forward and poor characterisation, Netflix’s Open House is not just a bad film, it’s also a tough contender to beat for worst film of 2018. The frustrating, unresolved ending doesn’t help either, leaving question marks around characters, motives and just about everything else in the film topping off an overwhelmingly bad experience.
The story follows Logan (Dylan Minnette) and his Mum Naomi (Piercey Dalton) as they retreat to an abandoned house in the mountains for an indefinite amount of time following a horrific accident that traumatises them both. Once there, strange occurrences befall both of them and what ensues is a jump scare rife horror that painfully slogs through to the cliffhanger ending leaving everything unresolved. Whilst the actors do a good job with their lines, a lot of the script involves the two lead characters panic-stricken and wide eyed as they creep around their house reacting to loud noises.
For long stretches of The Open House’s run time, nothing of significance really happens to drive the plot forward. Between the pockets of horror, long, drawn out segments seem to be building the mystery but amount to nothing when the credits roll. An old woman teases that her deceased husband wants to meet them and late on she’s seen wandering through the snow-covered forest surrounding the house but you’re never told why. Items disappear and reappear in different locations around the house promoting the supernatural elements but again, we’re never told why or how this happens. The frustrating amount of guesswork Open House leaves to viewers detracts from what little entertainment value is built for the first half of this horror.
If there’s one redeeming feature in this poorly implemented horror, its the camera work. Some of the stylish shots do accentuate the thrills and a few well timed jump scares are slickly composed taking advantage of clever rotating shots. The lighting is suitably grim too, taking advantage of the abandoned house but it all feels tired and lackadaisical with an unoriginal story line and poorly executed plotting.
Sometimes a bad film is so bad its good. There’s no doubt The Open House is a bad film but this one is so bad it falls in the realm of terrible. The unresolved ending tops off an underwhelming experience and the over reliance on jump scares wears thin quickly, despite a few well implemented camera movements that help. The actors do well with the lacklustre script they’re given but there isn’t much here to really get excited about. If The Open House had at least attempted a coherent ending perhaps a little more leniency could be given but its inexcusable to leave such an unresolved plot in the hope of getting a sequel. The Open House is a really bad film and deserves its crown as one of 2018’s worst films.