Last night I closed all the blinds and turned off all the lights in my apartment.
I immediately regretted my decision.
Not because the movie was a let down – it was brilliantly done – but because it played on one of my greatest fears. The fear that someone could be living in my house/under my house/over my house without my knowledge.
And the fear that *very creepy* someone could kill me before I even had a chance to call for help.
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The Open House follows the story of Naomi (Piercy Dalton) and her son Logan (Dylan Minnette) who move into a relative’s vacation home after a death in the family.
The home – of course – is an isolated, sprawling mansion surrounded by woods. Because, as you’re probably aware, people in horror movies never move into simple, single-story houses in busy suburbs.
Naomi and Logan hardly had time to unpack their belongings and settle into their new digs when things start to get a little bit creepy.
You see, the house is currently on the market and every Sunday they have to vacate it for an open house. An open house where a bunch of strangers have free reign to roam about said sprawling mansion with its many hidden rooms and weird passageways (because, horror movie).
After the first open house, unsettling things start happening. The kind of spine-tingling things that will make you check under your bed before you go to sleep tonight.
They begin to hear noises under the floorboards, their belongings start to mysteriously move around the house, and they begin to receive odd, echoey phone calls.
One night they come home to find that someone has set the dining table for them and left haunting music playing in the background.
Naomi and Logan become convinced that someone from the open house has stayed behind. They call the local police, who check the place out and reassure them that it was probably just some bored kids messing with them.
Of course, it wasn’t local kids, and the activity escalates until the mother and son duo are locked in a fight for their lives.
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This kind of story is not new. It’s been played out in urban legends, classic horror movies, and pop culture references for decades now.
Everyone knows the call is always coming from inside the house, that the strange noises in the basement or attic are definitely the workings of a crazed serial killer, and that if you do hear something suspicious you never, ever go to investigate it.
These sort of narratives are not unique but they are universal and they do play on a common fear that we, as humans, will probably never stop experiencing.
We can’t stop watching these kind of movies, even though they scare the heck out of us, because we want to know what we would do if we ever actually found ourselves in that situation.
Would we go down into the basement to investigate? Would we arm ourselves with a kitchen knife? Would we be able to outwit and outrun a determined killer?
These are the questions we silently ask ourselves as we snuggle under our blankets and eat our chips, one eye on the TV and one eye on that weird black shadow we swear wasn’t in the corner of the room just a few minutes ago.
We need answers and secretly we want to be prepared in case we ever come face to face with our biggest fear.
The Open House is the kind of movie you won’t be able to switch off or turn away from, even as you jump at shadows and frantically look under the couch.
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