Film Face-off: The Open House vs. The Mansion

It’s time for a house-off! These aren’t exactly your typical haunted house, decrepit spook-show types of films. Open House is a Netflix release with an unexpected ending, and Le Manoir is a french film with a cast of campy characters.

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Open House (2018)

Score: 4.5/10

94 mins; PG-13

After a tragic accident kills his father, a teenager and his mother temporarily stay in a family member’s mountain home. There’s only one rule- they have to be gone during the open house. Strange things start happening in the home, and even though they check every hiding spot, the two suspect someone stayed after one of the open houses. I can’t say much without revealing the “ending”, but I felt like there were are two obvious endings to choose from- the vague serial killer or the driver with some secret revenge. There are other options with the neighbour, the plumber, etc. but each possible suspect is as equally unsatisfying as the next. Although an engaging film, it’s not hard to see why people are upset or left feeling like the ending was just lazy and uninspired. I don’t know any friends who have seen this film yet, but I’m curious to see what they thought of the end and which option they lean towards for their closure

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The Mansion (Le Manoir) (2017)

Score: 2/10

100 mins; PG-13

A interesting group of friends stay at an enormous, empty home to celebrate New Year’s by method of partying.  As usual, the druggie is the most interesting of the bunch, but there’s a fair attempt at a few other charismatic blokes outside of the usual couple and clean-cut crew. I would prefer if the final four were the only characters, as most of them turn annoying very quickly. I really could have done without the poop and barf and snot on this one. Not sure if that’s a funny thing in France, but I had to keep pausing on my cheesy cauli rice because it was vile. The film started off decent- I was anticipating mostly scare with a few dumb jokes and such. But this Scary Movie-esque humour-free mess left me at the halfway point deciding if I even wanted to finish it. It went from gross and stupid to just… beyond boring. Who would have thought a brother sister taxidermy reveal could be so dull. If this had been just about scary drugs in a house in the middle of nowhere, this movie could have actually been cool. Unfortunately, it’s barely watchable and definitely skippable.

 

Although neither of these films are strong entries in the Haunted House genre, Open House was my clear winner. Although it’s a sort of a “choose your own adventure” ending, it’s at least captivating and entertaining most of the way through. Le Mansion gets tired fast, and even sexy French accents can’t mask the stench of bad potty humour.

I Know What You Did Last Summer Triple Face-off

Well, summer is coming to an end, and I have no idea what you did. I don’t know what you did last summer either. Hell, I don’t even know what I did last week. It may be just a coincidence that these films are pretty forgettable. I mean, I watched the original in the ’90s with everyone else in high school, either at the theatre or a month later on video from the local video store. But I was more absorbed in the Scream franchise which had both an original slasher plot and Neve Campbell. Both films have an all-star, young and beautiful celebrity cast. I guess it kind of felt like a group of popular kids from rival schools making their own slasher flicks for film class. Unfortunately for the following films, surprise slashers beat random fisherman at the box office.

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The Original (1997)

Rated R; 101 mins

“Let’s just pretend he’s an escaped lunatic with a hook for a hand…”

A slashly fisherman, dumb “teens”, and a twist you don’t really care about.

There was no way this wouldn’t at least be second to Scream, with the top “teen” actors of the ’90s. Just another brunette with dramatic facial expressions that thinks the world revolves around her. But this series has a murderer who is also a fisherman. Because what’s left is the typical boring killer twist, popular group of friends, slashy deaths, and an intense relationship between the main characters that just doesn’t seem to work out. It’s a decent go at a cliché young adult slasher-horror, but the only part that’s really memorable is the scene where JLove spins around yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?” Weirdly enough, I remember her doing it the rain, but apparently she does another spin that actually happens in the rain in the second. I will say,  JLove did a terrific job at making me feel better about my awkward, stringy teenage bangs.

Score: 5.5/10

 

I Still Know (1998)

Rated R; 100 mins

“All I know is that this is the worst vacation of my life. I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m fucking horny, and I ain’t seen one goddamn psycho killer.”

A mildly more diverse cast runs from the return of their fishy, slasher past.

In number two, JLove and her new friends go on a prize holiday in the Bahamas while Freddy P Jr. slaves away in murder town. The slasherman is back, and he’s having a slashathon at the resort while JLove and her posse try to get some rays. Luckily, they do get some rays when FP Jr magically appears to save the day. One thing I know about this movie is that there is a lot of slashing of people who have no reason to die. I suppose ole’ Fish Guts has gotten hot and irritated in his fisherman’s coat and decided to start sticking his hook in whomever came across his path. There are a few stupid flip-flop names revealed with a bland twist.  A slip of the hook ends the film in a way you’ll soon forget.

Score: 4.5/10

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I’ll Always Know (2006)

Rated R; 92 mins

“The guy would probably die of boredom before he got any of us.”

None of the celebrities you watched the original for appear in this most likely straight-to-video, needless addition to the summer franchise.

This is a horribly low-budget film that uses the franchise for no reason. JLove isn’t in it. No FP Jr. There is not even one scream towards the sky or a spin in a circle. It’s a totally new group of teens who play a prank where they dress up as the fisherman and accidentally kill their friend. Well, he impales himself after a lame skateboard jump away from the faux killer. So, I mean, no real need for revenge or anything, because someone just moved the mattresses he was supposed to land on. They don’t really have a reason to go to the police either, because it was just an accident not directly caused by them. Everyone is so dramatic about it. Maybe if the dude in the fisherman costume accidentally pushed him off the roof or something then sure, it might be believable that you’d want to get revenge. But it just doesn’t exactly make sense. It’s a mostly just a nice look back at 2000’s fashion and flip phones, but it wasn’t too painful to watch.

Score: 3/10

 

Read more about your scream queens SMG and JLH here!