A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Open House is a 2018 horror movie in which a mother and her teen son move to a mountain home after a tragedy only to face eerie events and a mysterious home invader. There's horror movie violence, some of it graphic. One character is found dead in an SUV with a slit throat. Another character is tied to a chair while the killer breaks fingers one at a time. A man is struck by a car and killed while in a parking lot. Brief female nudity is shown in a shower (breasts and buttocks). There's also frequent profanity, including regular use of "f--k" by the teen character, as well as cigarette smoking.
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What's the story?
In THE OPEN HOUSE, Logan (Dylan Minnette) is an aspiring runner hoping to attain glory on his high school's track team. But his life takes a tragic turn when he witnesses his father getting hit and killed by a driver having a heart attack in a parking lot. Unable to afford the rent of their home, Logan and his mother, Naomi, are able to relocate to Naomi's sister's mountain retreat until they figure out their next move, provided they leave when the realtors who are trying to sell it have their open house days. Almost immediately, eerie events start happening inside the house. Objects are moved seemingly by themselves from one room to the next. The pilot light keeps getting turned off. And the realtors who are trying to sell this mountain house are strange, and so is their new neighbor, Martha, and the repairman sent to fix the furnace. It gets really bad when Logan and Naomi return home to find the dining room table candlelit; the police dismiss this as the behavior of bored teenagers. With only their new friend, a local named Chris, offering to stay with them and help try to make sense of the increasingly creepy happenings, Logan and Naomi must find a way to catch the mystery person lurking in the house, or die trying.
Is it any good?
Perhaps the only good thing about this horror movie is the music. While the acting isn't bad and there's some initial hope that The Open House could be a satisfying scary movie, viewers are ultimately left with nothing but the feeling that 94 minutes of their life was wasted. There are some nods to The Shining and Psycho that suggest perhaps the filmmakers are savvy enough to make horror movie magic with a small budget, but it doesn't take long to see that the overuse of genre clichés -- such as the sudden burst of music and the jolting camera shot that merely reveals another character appearing seemingly out of nowhere -- reveals an amateurish ineptitude that might lead the viewer to wonder if they're being ironic. Is the movie a spoof of horror movies? It's unclear.
Spoiler alert: Viewers may be frustrated with the ending, or lack of an ending. Basically, it's like a whodunit without telling you whodunit. Teen horror fans are better off sticking with the classics.
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