**Hey folks! Welcome to all of the new subscribers! Thanks to those of you that were here before the hiatus for sticking with me through my catch-up session on my podcast. Now I’m back and will be including trivia and excerpts from interviews with the stars of each movie to add some gusto to my reviews.
Today’s review is a special request from Briski, the host of Turn of Phrases podcast. It’s an amazing pod that talks about the history behind phrases and sayings! Recently, Briski celebrated her 50th episode bonanza in three parts and I even helped! Let her know Augie sent you!**
Synopsis: A kid of indiscriminate age that recently watched his dad die, moves with his mother to a mountain house. This house happens to be for sale but because they can’t afford the house they used to have, this three story mansion will have to do. A murderer then mingles in with the prospective buyers and hides in the house stalking the family.
Year Released: 2017
Directed and Written by: Matt Angel (who was even in the film as the white cop with all the lines) and Suzanne Coote (who was also in the film as a waitress during the pointless diner scene). I don’t usually ramble here, but both of these people are the kind of actor/directors that put themselves in the movie and neither of them have a rich history of directing. Yikes.
Director: “you know what’s scary about living in an open house?”
Random dude: “Wait, dude, I don’t think you’re supposed to be living in the house when you’re showing it.”
Favorite Death: this is going to sound really bad, but I thought the funniest/ my favorite death was when the dad dies. They make such a fuss about the fact that he forgot the milk that you kinda feel like blaming him a little bit. “If you had just gotten the milk, you would have taken longer and might not have been driven into a dumpster in a sketchy back alley. Just sayin'”
Funniest Part: If you’ve seen this movie, it’s clear what the funniest part is. Right after Logan (though I keep wanting to call him Clay) stabs his mom by accident, he runs away. He’s chased by the house creeper though and is forcefully thrown to the ground. the creeper places his hand over Logan’s mouth and, though he’s struggling and moving around, carefully removes his contact lenses. I mean, come on.
What they did right: Ugh, this is a hard category this week. This movie didn’t have a lot going for it. I mean, the music was great, the lighting was awesome, the acting didn’t completely suck, and the set looked fantastic. However, the actual story was really weak and almost seemed like it was supposed to be about something else entirely with that ending.
Special effects and lighting: Really good. It had the advantage of a snowy forest behind the house. The mountain house was gorgeous and well lit as well as furnished beautifully.
What I thought would happen: Full disclosure, I’ve seen this movie before. I knew exactly how it ended because it really REALLY made me mad.
Thoughts on interviews: In one interview with Piercey Dalton, she mentioned that the directors approached her with the idea that it was going to be a bigger picture than something you might find on Netflix. She was under that impression until they told her it wasn’t actually cast and it was going to be an independent movie.
In another interview, Dylan Minnette is asked how he relates to Logan. In my opinion, how he acts in this role is really strained. It doesn’t feel natural. When Dylan was asked this question, he mumbled a bit and danced around it enough that you forgot what the original question was and got an answer to a totally different question.
Trivia: There’s no trivia specifically for this movie, but there are a few continuity errors I found funny:
“Characters mention the titular Open House begins at 11:00 several times. The sigh outside the house says it starts at 10:00. When Naomi wakes up Logan later she says “we have to get out for the open house.” He asks her the time and she responds “1:00.””
“In the beginning of the movie, Logan goes down into the basement to check the boiler. When he goes upstairs, he breaks a stair. Later in the movie, Naomi goes down to the boiler, but when she back upstairs, the stair is suddenly repaired. Later in the movie, the stair goes back to being broken.”
This movie is one of those that just leaves me with questions the more I think about it. But I won’t bore you with the ramblings of my mind, instead, allow me to bore you with the plot of this movie.
In the first scene, we meet Logan, a track star that has a record setting mile run. He also wears glasses, the movie is very clear that he wears glasses and contacts and even devotes and entire scene to it at the beginning of the film, don’t worry, it’s important later.
Next thing we know, Logan and his dad have gone out to the sketchy corner store for milk and eggs. His dad forgets the milk and is subsequently hit by a car. He dies instantly and we snap to the funeral.
In hushed tones, Logan’s mother Naomi discusses with her sister that she won’t be able to afford the rent for her current home. Being the nice sister she is (unlike that crazy chick from 47 Meters Down) she lets them stay in the mountain home she has. While Naomi worries about the open houses that happen there every weekend, her sister assures her it won’t be a problem.
This is the last time we come into contact with Naomi’s sister, the owner of the property, and probably the only person that could do anything about anything if something were to go horribly horribly wrong. Oh well!
As Naomi and Logan shop for some groceries they meet Martha. I’m only going to mention her once because she is an absolutely useless character. Martha serves no purpose other than to be a creepy neighbor. She talks about death and speaks like an emo poet about death. She has Alzheimers, can magically teleport to wherever Logan is at any given moment, and wears the same clothes in every scene she’s in. I believe the movie was trying to set up that because Martha has a mental illness and therefore might be the bad guy in the film, but there is no evidence to suggest it’s her.
Once the mother son duo move into the mansion/ mountain house, they unpack what little they’ve brought with them and explore their new surroundings. Out of what seems to be a house with at least three stories, Logan finds the basement, the creepiest part of the entire house. It has no working lights, though the fact that his aunt has a three story mountain house in the first place suggests she could at least hire someone to change a lightbulb. Therefore, anyone who goes down there (which happens way more than it needs to) has to use a flashlight to see.
Logan is immediately compelled to search the basement for some reason and he does a super “spooky” walk-through of the whole thing, finding a rock-filled tunnel when he does. From this point until you actually see someone in the house that’s not Naomi or Logan, the movie makes you think the house is haunted.
Logan is a strange character. He’s not necessarily brave, he’s not necessarily too curious for his own good, I don’t know, maybe he’s just hard to read because a 20 year old is playing a high school student. For example, one night, he hears something strange and goes to investigate. Turns out there is a car on his front lawn shining it’s headlights into the house. He peeks through the blinds until it honks at him, then shuts them abruptly. Rather than leave well enough alone, he goes outside to investigate further. He’s kinda dumb, but also the smartest character in the movie.
In competition for the actual funniest part of the movie, we have this amazing scene in the middle of the movie that I need to tell you about. Logan and Naomi are having lunch at a diner. Let me give you a brief synopsis, shall I?
Mom: What would you do if you won the lottery?
Logan: idk, pay off all the debt we have?
Mom: I wish we were rich
Logan: me too
Mom: I used to do photography, a trade that makes a lot of money.
Logan: you don’t need to win the lottery to get back into that
Mom: don’t be stupid lol
This scene makes no sense, we know that they might not have money and there’s a scene later on in which we find out that the father character didn’t leave them anything, but I don’t get why this scene is important when Naomi already talked about not being able to afford rent at the funeral. I have a sneaking suspicious that because both of the writers/directors wanted to be in the film, they had to include a scene where a random woman wouldn’t be strange.
Chris is the next character I’d like to introduce along with the not-so-subtle racism of this movie. So Chris is a very attractive black man. He’s got some kind of strange southern accent that we only hear in the first scene he’s in, but other than that he’s pretty cool. So like I said, Chris is black. In fact, he’s one of exactly two black characters in this movie. The other is a cop with ONE LINE. This fact is made worse by the realization that one of the directors/writers is the other cop and is relatively the only one that speaks.
Okay, so we meet Chris. He’s a really sweet dude, talking to Naomi and trying not to wiggle his way between Logan and Naomi, being respectful and kind. However, the lines he has are almost all questions and it seems, based on his lines and the fact that almost every time he’s on screen there is ominous music playing, that he’s meant to be the bad guy. This would be fine if he wasn’t the only black character with more than one line.
Am I being overly sensitive? Maybe, but I believe it’s warranted. If you don’t believe this is a thing, may I introduce you to this amazing video series made by the voice of Carlos from Welcome to Nightvale, Dylan Marron.
Finally, I’d like to point out that there was absolutely no need to see the ass and side boob of Naomi. There were so many in-shower scenes that it never once looked like she was doing more than simply standing under the water.
Not only that, but once the pilot light starts going out, she walk down to the basement (twice, mind you) in a freaking towel. Once she thinks someone might be playing a mean trick, she searches the house in the same towel. Why? Why was this necessary?
Okay, so to lighten things up a bit, shall we talk about the terrible conclusion to this movie?
So Logan starts hearing creepy things around the house and one night, while his mom is showering they learn the pilot light keeps going out. Clearly this is the house creeper blowing it out every once in a while, thus allowing the main characters to travel down to the basement no less than 5 times. It’s almost as if the directors said “hey this is the creepiest part of this house, let’s use it in the exact same way as many times as possible.”
Doors open “on their own” mysterious phone calls ring through the house, and the doorbell keeps ringing at strange times of night. It’s all very creepy.
As the suspense grows, Chris is killed in the car, therefore proving it wasn’t him all along, and the house creeper or “man in black” as he’s credited knocks Logan out and dumps cold water on him, causing his body to start being all hypothermized.
Meanwhile the man in black ties up Naomi after chilling with her in bed for a few minutes. He ties her up in a chair and breaks each of her fingers. Cut to Logan, running inside, a human popsicle with frozen hair and eyebrows that don’t melt in the house I’m positive is it’s own freezer. Nimbly, he uses the fingers that should be numbed by hypothermia to untie his mother. Through a series of running scenes, he ends up later stabbing her by accident, therefore torturing his psyche and feeling responsible for the death of both of his parents.
The man in black chases him through the house, does the contacts, thing, then lets Logan run off into the woods where Martha is, of course, aimlessly wandering with a huge smile on her face for no reason. As light dawns, Logan takes refuge by a creek. He is soon found out, however, and killed anyway. Mind you, not drowned like would make sense next to a creek, just strangled or something.
Throughout the movie, we meet a lot of potential candidates for the bad guy role of this movie, however, it turns out to be none of them. Instead, it’s some rando that makes a habit of stalking families and using their weaknesses to kill them. Rather than shock the audience like I’m sure the directors/writers intended, it turned out to be an anger inducing terrible ending.
Now, I have multiple issues with this ending, but for the sake of your time, I’ll only list a few.
1. Why did the guy try so hard to mentally torture these people? He pitted the mother and son against each other and tortured Logan with the song that was playing when his dad died
2. How did he know they lived there? I mean, he might have seen the boxes when he went to the open house, but those could have been anyone’s boxes.
3. I don’t think it’s all that common for people to live in a house that has open houses every weekend. How is he an “Open House Murderer” if the one family he did kill was a fluke that just happened to be staying there?
4. How are the landlords/realtors not seeing someone walking around the house when they set up OR how are they not curious as to why the same person is coming by every Sunday with no intention of buying the place?
I believe these questions and more will forever go unanswered, that is, unless you feel like putting yourself through this movie to tell me! Let me know what you thought in the comments! And stay tuned next week for the episode I’ll be making on this movie on my podcast!
Last Week’s Review: Paranormal Activity
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