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.
Open House (2018)
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
The Mansion (Le Manoir) (2017)
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.