Susan Coote & Matt Angel’s Netflix Original The Open House was made on a mere $100,000 budget, which is an incredible feat to manage in filmmaking. However, with this extremely low budget, the overall production comes with a few faults, but also with a few clever nods to the genre.
Coote & Angel directed this film intelligently with the budget they had. They made a brilliant move by having a discreet house in the middle of nowhere, and a small cast to enforce a tension filled runtime. However, the slim cast and repetitive nature of the mysterious person in question caused the movie to stumble at times. The conceptual idea of the mystery behind this hidden figure, hiding in darkness, is solid and the directors pride themselves on taking the being’s identity as a secret to the bitter end.
Although beginning a bit on the nose of other horror film’s plot lines, The Open House goes beyond that as a major plot line, and instead uses it as a set up for the remainder of the film. Don’t let the first fifteen minutes or the trailers trick you, The Open House is much more of a thriller than it is a horror, and that’s made perfectly clear throughout. A simple story, yes, but one that is slightly heightened by mysterious elements being introduced into the film. The conclusion will certainly irk a vast majority of viewers, but if you take the time to truly soak in the entire film, the ending works well enough and gets its particular “stranger” point across.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Dylan Minnette, famous for roles in Don’t Breathe & 13 Reasons Why, strongly holds the lead, although the script shys away from giving too much dialogue to the characters, and instead lets the film’s atmosphere take over. Besides some lackluster side characters, the only other prominent character is Piercey Dalton, who provides average work as the lead’s mother, which leaves her performance sticking out like a sore thumb against the above average Minnette. Whether it be the actors’ issues delivering the written script, or just poorly written characters surrounded by a decent concept, can certainly be up for debate.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The score doesn’t excite nor does it scare, but it flows. Albeit a tad bit generic, and more of the same thing that we generally get in a majority of horror films. Ultimately, the score doesn’t hinder the experience but it certainly doesn’t elevate it either
Special effects aren’t used very often throughout this horror film, but the few moments are enhanced by their practicality. The lack of this is odd fitting in todays film society, but functions well as I truly believe the film wouldn’t have benefited from adding any more into the final picture. On occasion, there are excusable moments caused by the film’s fast editing that allow several sharp cut special effects to slide their way in.
The Open House isn’t exactly what I wanted this movie to be for Netflix, but it still had a couple clever moments spread throughout. The directors/writers should be proud of what they accomplished with such a minuscule budget, but there are obvious disadvantages to the film being that way. This is brought to the limelight by displaying the film’s lack of creativity, until the final outdoor scene, which not only displayed a smart concept being followed all the way through, but also explored a new creative side to the movie that the audience hadn’t been seeing up to that point. The Open House has many issues, but its tremendous use of its small budget and small cast will definitely garner attention for its faults, and in turn gain much hate. Yet among all of this hatred will be a small group that realizes the triumph of this horror/thriller, and forgive a few issues for a decent mystery that takes a clever way out.