I watched The Open House twice in a row. That's not a compliment.
In previous years, Netflix coffin nailed the horror film genre. I laughed out loud with Little Evil and The Babysitter. I found Death Note gripping in spite of it's gentrified cast. The Void unnerved me with its imagery. Even 1922 was watchable if predictable. I keep Before I Wake as part of my Halloween film requisites. Yes, it smarms at the end, but given the nightmares it recreates, it's more than forgivable.
I had hoped The Open House would follow the Netflix pedigree especially since it starred Dylan Minnette, otherwise known as the kid from Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. And while Dylan's acting honors the Netflix family tree, he has so little to work with that it doesn't matter. I suppose sooner or later, every family has that one kid they'd rather not talk about.
I watched this movie twice, back to back. The second viewing was motivated by a belief that I must've have missed clues to explain things. After repeated pauses and rewinds and reviews, which is much more difficult on a Roku player, I concluded the only thing I missed was time doing something much more valuable, like resurrecting my Farmville account.
This movie barely reaches the minimum criteria for Horror. It spends nearly the entire film setting you up by providing a parade of people as suspected antagonists. Your diligence as a viewer is never rewarded. It's a movie that uses real estate in it's premise; the loss of investment should have been a given.
Whoever the killer is, they must be psychic. Only a person with clairvoyance could put together a plan this ridiculous and expect anybody to follow it. Do you really expect me to believe that inducing hypothermia will wake up a person just in time to stab somebody accidentally? What idiot keeps running through the house or lunges at a fellow family member in the dark after such a torturous physical and psychological trauma? Contact lens removal as a plot point...really? I don't know where the writers got their ideas, but I'm certain they never been conscious for a planning meeting.
Throughout the film, you are constantly reminded that somebody is playing some kind of game. Not only do you never learn who's playing it, you never have any clue what game is being played. When I was young, my older brother and his friends used to play a card game called Fizbin, inspired by the game from a Star Trek episode. The purpose of the game was to make up so many confusing rules that I'd get frustrated and leave them alone. Open House is playing this same game and getting the same results.
Netflix has other new films and hopefully these new children will be worthy proteges. For now we'll just try to keep this miscreant on the downlow.