There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
2020 Netflix Halloween Countdown
As crazy as it is to believe, it is already October 2020—it has been a bizarre year, for sure. For the past three years, I have been spending October watching and reviewing some of the spooky, scary, gory, chilling, and horror-themed movies on Netflix. With each review, I will include a table that ranks these movies from best to worst. This year will be my fourth year doing this, and I plan on publishing a new review each day. Some will be from movies that I have reviewed before, but there will be some new movies on here is well. So if you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit by watching some Halloween-style movies, then these articles are for you!
Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom) has not forgiven her father, and she has decided to move to Los Angeles to start a new life for herself. She got hired as a temp at a law firm, and now she just needs to find an apartment. After seeing an ad for an open house for a perfect looking apartment, Sarah decides to stop by to check it out. When she arrives, the apartment is swarming with people, all hoping to get the apartment for themselves. Sarah does not think her chances are very high, but she gives the building manager (Taylor Nichols) her information anyway and quickly puts the apartment out of her mind, continuing her search for other apartments online.
Sarah is overjoyed when she gets an unexpected call saying that she got the apartment. The apartment is just an ordinary one bedroom, but the building has a lovely community, and the apartment is perfect for her. She quickly moves in, but soon discovers that the seemingly perfect apartment has come with its share of flaws. The plumbing in the apartment is very loud at night, and she begins to receive threatening messages from an anonymous neighbor. Sarah came to Los Angeles by herself to start a new life for herself, but in her search for a dream apartment to call home, she may have inadvertently put herself in the middle of a nightmare.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Community (+5pts)
The Genre (-5pts)
Nicole Brydon Bloom (+5pts)
The Logistics (-4pts)
Predictable & The Ending (-5pts)
Pro: The Community (+5pts)
This was really the entire premise of the movie. The community of the residents in the apartment building was a sketchy one, and it was clear that something was going on, and that Sarah was walking into a trap. Then, once the trap was sprung, the community of residents felt like a massively insurmountable obstacle. Taking the logistics of this community aside—I will get to that later—if you accept the situation as the filmmakers presented it, then it was hard to think of a way out of Sarah’s scenario.
The community was an effective obstacle to overcome, because this was not the type of story that relied on the protagonist making dumb decisions. Once Sarah realized the situation she was in, it was too late, and there was nothing she could do about it try to survive through it. She just had to go along with it until an opportunity presented itself, and that was assuming an opportunity like that would even present itself at all. She just had to accept the horrible situation she was in and hope for the best. The logistics surrounding this whole thing were weak, and I will get into that later, but the community was an effective, suspenseful, and insurmountable obstacle for the protagonist of this story.
Con: The Genre (-5pts)
This was one of those movies that tried to be two genres, and I think it made both suffer. The first genre was a horror movie about a young woman moving into a new apartment by herself, surrounded by a community of neighbors she did not know, with something creepy going on in her apartment at night. The second genre came after a reveal about a third of the way into the movie. The reveal told us who—or what—was behind the creepy things happening in Sarah’s apartment, and after this point in the story, the movie became something else entirely. It became a thriller about the same young woman trying to survive in the strange, horrible, and impossible situation she had found herself in.
Either of these storylines would have worked fine, but I did not think that trying to do one then shifting to another worked for this movie. It made it so that those who went into this movie hoping for a horror would be disappointed, because right when the movie started having even the slightest hint of horror, the movie then shifted into something else. It also made the thriller storyline not really work either, because the focus had been elsewhere during the setup, so it did not get enough development to get me invested in it. Ultimately, it felt like the filmmakers did not know what they wanted this movie to be. It felt like they just sat on the genre fence, and because each genre required taking this story in different directions, I thought the movie suffered quite a bit for it.
Pro: Nicole Brydon Bloom (+5pts)
I have not seen Nicole Brydon Bloom in anything before, so I did not really have any expectations of her going into this movie. However, despite what I thought of the movie around her, I thought she did a great job in the role. She played her character’s terror well—through both the creepy stuff and the torture—but I also thought she did a good job of conveying her character’s mindset at the various stages in her story. In the beginning, she was that of an innocent young woman being creeped out by certain things, and later, she was that of a young woman slowly coming to terms with her new reality. This was a horror and a psychological thriller, so it goes without saying that the protagonist went through a lot in this story. All of the emotion of this story was thrown onto the back of Nicole Brydon Bloom and I thought she carried it well. She played the role convincingly and interestingly, and she was without a doubt one of the better things about this movie.
Con: The Logistics (-4pts)
I do not want to get into this with too much detail, because I do not want to spoil exactly what was going on in this apartment building. That being said, the more I think about what was going on, the more I realize that it was ridiculous how far the whole thing got. The initiation process would have bred a ton of rebellious people in the group of antagonists, so I refuse to believe the whole thing could have gotten as large as it did without completely collapsing in on itself. I also did not think Sarah’s response or any of her actions were exceptional, so while I found her relatable, I also found it crazy that the antagonists would not have encountered anyone like her before. The logistics of what was happening in this apartment building was one of those issues that I did not think too much about while the movie was on, because the filmmakers always kept the focus elsewhere. However, the more I think about it all, the more the plot of this movie falls apart, because key parts of it were just too unbelievable.
Pro: Lisa (+3pts)
This character was not in the movie much, but I liked everything that the filmmakers did with Lisa (Celeste Sully). I liked her attitude when we first met her, I liked the friendship between her and Sarah, I liked how the antagonists got her not to come looking for Sarah, and I liked the inner struggle within Sarah later on in the story—regarding Lisa. She left an impact, she gave this story some extra personality, and she was pretty important to Sarah’s story within the apartment complex. Thus, while she did not get a ton of screentime, she was a pretty effective supporting character.
Con: Predictable & The Ending (-5pts)
Pretty much as soon as the reveal happened and this movie shifted to no longer being a horror, the movie became pretty predictable. I did not know exactly what the antagonists were after, nor did I know exactly who was involved or how deep it went. However, I was confident with how the rest of the story would go. I was confident that Sarah would get out, and I was confident that she was just waiting for her opportunity to strike, and that she would strike in an exciting climax. Maybe I was right, maybe I was wrong, but I was so confident that that I ended up getting less invested in the story.
Then there was the ending itself. The climax had suspense and excitement, but the final moments of the movie that had me rolling my eyes. Once the climax happened, I guessed what the final seconds of the movie would be, and I was hoping the filmmakers were not going to go in that direction. It was your classic cliffhanger ending, where the filmmakers left the story open ended for a potential sequel. It was predictable, to a frustrating degree, and it made those logistical issues that I mentioned so much worse. It was a dumb, predictable, and unsatisfying way to end this story.
Grade: C- (74pts)
I thought the premise was one that would provide a lot of naturally creepy moments and horror-movie scares. The setup for the movie went about as you would expect it to. It setup that the girl was alone, it setup why she was alone, it setup her need to find an apartment, and it setup that there was definitely something off about the apartment building she ended up finding herself in. However, almost as soon as anything resembling horror started to happen, the movie shifted into being something else.
It shifted into more of a psychological thriller about a girl in an impossible, horrible situation. Either story would have been fine, but I think by trying to do both, it sort of ruined both. It will disappoint viewers hoping for horror, and those hoping for a sketchy thriller will feel like they are only standing in the shallow end instead of diving deep into it. The community was admittedly creepy at times, Nicole Brydon Bloom did a pretty great job in the lead role, and I liked what the filmmakers did with Lisa, but I did not think any of these things were enough to save the movie from its directional issues—especially considering the logistics of the place made no sense and the overall story was a pretty predictable one. The filmmakers had what should have been an easy premise to execute, either as a horror or a thriller, but I thought by trying to do both, the filmmakers sort of shot this movie in both of its feet before it ever had the chance to start running.
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The Open House
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House