When Logan Wallace’s father passes away in a tragic accident, his mother drags him to her sister’s isolated mountain home in the hopes that it will help them grieve. There’s just one catch, the lavish accommodation is on the market and the pair would have to vacate the premises every so often while strangers have a wander round – (There’s nothing scarier than the thought of someone seeing how full your laundry basket is two weeks running, right?). Unfortunately for the Wallaces, it seems like some are sticking around after the estate agent calls it a day too.
For the majority of its runtime, The Open House relies on the slow burn; fuelling the tension gradually by having the intruders mess with the hot water tank in the basement, leave doors ajar and steal Logan’s glasses from time-to-time.
Their fellow occupants become increasingly spooked by it all – as we’ve come to expect from this genre – and lead Dylan Minnette, who proved his acting chops in previous outings such as Don’t Breathe, fares well in such scenes. But sadly, they’re just so forgettable. The silhouette skulking past the doorframe in the middle of the night and the case of the missing mobile are tropes we’ve all seen in superior films many times before.
The Open House’s biggest downfall is how it abandons interesting threads – and its tone – in favour of an uncharacteristically “thrilling” finale. Are the dark figures stalking the place real people, or spirits? Why do they want the Wallaces gone? What’s the deal with the creepy nosy neighbours? What did Naomi mean when she claimed her husband didn’t care about either of them? Not one aspect is explored.
Movies don’t always have to spell everything out, but here it’s far too vague and therefore fails to encourage any sort of emotional connection towards its characters or add intrigue. By its rushed and anti climactic end, every thread is left wide open. Perhaps the title was a forewarning… The Open House might boast decent foundations but it lacks in content.