9. The Open House - That Is Not How Phones Work
The Open House is another one of those Netflix original horror films that, while they have the potential to be great in principle, are ultimately executed poorly. Troubled youth Logan Wallace, still traumatised from witnessing the accident that killed his father, is given the opportunity to house-sit for his aunt with his mother Naomi at her open house –i.e. an unoccupied house she’s selling. It’s a remote, decent sized house in the middle of the mountains, so his mother thinks it’s a great chance for a break to try and mend their rocky relationship.
But this is a home invasion thriller, so things are set to go wrong fast. An unknown, and ultimately completely anonymous killer rocks up to mess about with the duo for a few days, toying with them, psychologically and physically torturing them, and eventually murdering them both. It’s bleak as hell, and the isolated and seemingly random nature of these kills is the spookiest part of this film. But of course, there are a few points where it’s obvious that there’s more they could be doing which could have potentially avoided their untimely deaths.
For starters, if weird stuff starts happening like the house getting broken into, only to find the dining table fully set for dinner, it’s time to leave. At this point, they still have a functioning car and all that jazz, so this house is not yet the inescapable prison it will soon become. As for the idea that they can’t afford a hotel and therefore must stay in the house – they’re house sitting for a relative. Surely you could make the drive and ask to sleep on their couch? I’m sure “creepy stuff in an isolated mansion” is a good enough reason for anyone to see that this was the only sensible solution.
But most infuriatingly, when the proverbial starts hitting the fan, our not-really-a-hero grabs his phone, only to find the faceless murderer has removed the SIM card. Drat! If only it were possible to still phone emergency services even without an activated SIM card installed!
Oh wait, it is?
You mean this kid could have slammed 911 immediately and given the operator all the requisite details, maybe saving himself and his mother? Part of me hopes this is a moment of character idiocy, because the alternative is that this film’s makers have no idea how mobile phones work.