Netflix has been fast attempting to up their game with their original movies. I’m usually reluctant to watch these original releases because, as with most bowl punches at parties, you never know if it’s going to be a hit or a miss- and by miss, I mean finding yourself in a puddle of your own filth in the bathroom eight hours later. By history and experience, movies that aren’t released in theaters (and instead go straight to DVD or VOD). Power Rangers, observe through the viewing globe as we discuss Netflix’s The Open House, The Cloverfield Paradox, and The Ritual.
First time and young as hell director Matt Angel does some cool and unique sensory experiences with the camera. He plays with the darkness in latter portions of the film fairly well; and he ties in (to a fault) a lot of foreshadowing (as with the contacts scene, for example). The movie builds up suspense nicely, I have no problem here. The Open House got rained on on Rotten Tomatoes. And while I think that website is over-hyped, usually off the mark, and a stupid name, I’m guessing it get knocks for the lack of characterization. Fair.
The adorable Dylan Minette (13 Reasons Why; Don’t Breathe) has such potential- I’ve said this since he was in season 6 of Lost. But his story with his mother just wasn’t working. And as we move through this movie, things fall flat. I didn’t mind the ending, but I could have done without the final scene before the cut-to-black, which is another problem some will point out about the director as he all to often points things out for the audience. Not the worse by any stretch for a Netflix horror/suspense, but not the best.
Do whatever you want with piss, but don’t piss all over my new shoes and tell me you drank mostly water. Yes, Netflix, you surprised us during the Super Bowl about the fact this movie is real and then surprised us again in saying we could watch after the game was over. The biggest surprise was the piss poor “connection” this movie had to my third favorite movie of all time (DEAL WITH IT) Cloverfield. **Spoilers ahead**
Aside from this movie talking about a book with the word “Cloverfield” in it through out, no one or their mother would have guessed this movie was associated. It felt like the director made this movie to get it out his system and then said, “Wait, I liked Cloverfield. Let’s waste time and money on reshoots and then make it end this way.” Now, I love sci-fi. I love opening up new dimensions so we have walls eating people and crawling arms writing us cryptic messages with pen and paper. But don’t make this a (what’s supposed to be) a prequel to the Cloverfield world and then shit out the excuse that we have multiverses to where, genuinely, anything can be turned into a Cloverfield movie. Not now. Not during these hard times
Also, I can’t watch this movie and act like Life (sci-fi movie from last year) doesn’t exist when The Cloverfield Paradox felt like a replica of Life. But at least with Life we had something tangible to fear through out as the alien wreaked havoc in the spaceship. Thank Jesus Paradox didn’t go to theaters; I would have been upset enough to write a strongly worded letter.
David Bruckner (who is known for the V/H/S movie from 2012 that wasn’t great but you make the Obama not-bad face after it’s over) surprised me. He gives you some beautiful use of silence in some of the woodsy scenes that creates ridiculous suspense. The use of slow camera zooms sprinkled through out the movie have you looking to see what’s beyond the woods. It’s pretty fucking great. Sure, this movie follows some familiar tracks of The Blair Witch Project; however, The Ritual does some nice character development to where you feel for the characters instead of wishing them dead or wanting to wipe their noses with all that snot. There’s a psychological tie-in which get a little heavy-handed but not overdone like my steak. I won’t give anything away here because, unlike The Cloverfield Paradox, this movie doesn’t deserve to have it’s story ruined; but there’s more to this movie than just some thing in the woods. *golf clap*