Dylan Minnette may have jumped into filming The Open House just five days after wrapping the first season of 13 Reasons Why, but that doesn't mean he carried much of Clay Jensen into playing Logan Wallace.
"They were just different for so many reasons. Very different characters, really different genres," Minnette told MTV News. "But both emotionally and physically demanding, for sure. There were similarities in that way, but they were both very, very different."
Very, very different is right. For starters, The Open House is a thriller that, if you're anything like me, will have you biting your nails in anticipation throughout the entire movie, except for when you need to use your hands to cover your eyes.
Written and directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, the Netflix movie follows Logan and his mom Naomi (Piercey Dalton) after they tragically lose their patriarch and hole up in a family member's for-sale vacation home in the woods, where mysterious neighbors and threatening forces linger.
If this sounds like the perfect-yet-typical thriller setup, don't get too comfortable. "There are a couple of very specific directions you can see the movie going that it doesn't," Minnette said, warning us of the red herrings sprinkled throughout the film. "But no, it all gets flipped on its head and it is none of those things and it's very dark. It's going to give you a really bad feeling when it's over, but that's kind of the point."
Twists and turns and genres aside, 13 Reasons Why fans may be tempted to feel some emotional similarities from the sense of loss in Minnette's two projects, but the prospects in The Open House are notably more ominous. As Minnette points out, the characters in 13 Reasons Why "have more hope than the characters in The Open House."
If the controversial 13 Reasons Why is more hopeful than his upcoming thriller, then you know to expect something grim.
It's so bleak, in fact, that Minnette isn't even confident he should recommend his new project to fans of his talked-about show. "I honestly think that there’s nothing about these two that are related and by asking 13 Reasons Why fans to watch it, I’m definitely inviting them into something that I don’t know if they like to watch or not," he admitted before quickly adding, "Everybody likes a good scary movie, but what will surprise people is the length that this movie goes to and how intense it actually gets."
Coming from the guy who's seen every Saw movie — even the newest, Jigsaw — Minnette's intensity assessment is no joke. The Open House is a slow burn with a palpable build-up that culminates in a savage end.
Drop that intensity into the wooded, mountainous Big Bear, California, environment where the small production filmed, and Minnette may have been double-checking inside his closet and underneath his bed — like his character does — before settling in at night.
"I drove up there myself and it was December, so I was worried about ice. It was kind of scary driving up there by myself for the first time. And I stayed in a tiny, little lodge, this room with a fire furnace and stuff," Minnette recalled. "On any other thing that I’ve done like this I would normally say, ‘No, nothing was scary about this. We were filming and it’s super formulaic,’ but this was, because of it being within this random house in Big Bear and staying in this tiny little lodge room. There were times that felt like, 'This is a little creepy.' Super cold outside, Christmas lights, there's just a weird quiet."
In the end, his real-life nerves only added to the experience. "If you can give me a good thriller or a good horror movie, I’m in," Minnette said.
If you're in too, watch The Open House on Netflix starting Friday, January 19.