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The Unexpected Horror Thriller Lighting Up The Netflix Charts Right Now

If you're looking for a spooky good time, fire up Netflix — and then head over to Our House.

Audiences have taken to the unheralded 2018 fright flick, which has just made its debut appearance on the streamer's Top Ten. Sure, those of us who have spent a good deal of 2020's first half in self-quarantine might be getting a bit tired of our own houses, but this one will give you a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

The flick is a loose remake of a little-seen 2010 feature titled Ghost from the Machine, which was more of a supernatural sci-fi drama. Our House ramps up the scarier elements of the story, thanks to a reworking from screenwriter Nathan Parker, who also penned director Duncan Jones' fantastic 2009 debut film Moon. Directorial duties here are handled by Anthony Scott Burns, who helmed the "Father's Day" segment of the bonkers 2016 horror anthology feature Holidays. He also served as an assistant director on last year's theatrical release The Prodigy and on the Netflix original film In the Tall Grass.

Our House stars Thomas Mann (Kong: Skull Island) as Ethan, a college student with a passion for invention who is working on cracking the code for wireless electricity; unfortunately, he instead ends up cracking a much, much different code — one that could pose a grave threat to his entire family. The supporting cast includes Nicola Peltz (The Last Airbender) as Ethan's girlfriend Hannah, Percy Hines White (The Gifted) as his younger brother Matt, Kate Moyer (When Hope Calls) as his younger sister Becca, and Robert B. Kennedy (Suicide Squad) as his neighbor Richard.

What is Our House about?

The flick begins with Ethan home from college to pay a visit to his loving family. They're disappointed that he'll be taking off early to partake in an on-campus experiment with the new device that he's been hard at work developing. He calls this device "Eli," and he hopes to use it to become the first to discover a viable method of producing wireless electrical power.

Unfortunately for him, the university isn't terribly psyched about his experiments, which means that he's forced to sneak into the lab to conduct them in secret after hours with the help of Hannah. When Ethan's latest experiment results in a campus-wide blackout, he's understandably worried about the consequences — but this soon becomes the least of his problems.

The next morning, he finds out that his parents have died in a tragic accident, and he heads back home to care for his siblings. There, he continues his experiments with Eli — but as he does, strange and mysterious things begin to happen around the house. Ghostly apparitions appear, and Ethan's grieving siblings begin to believe that their parents are trying to reach out to them from the other side.

Hoping to enable them to communicate with the family, Ethan recruits his neighbor to help him siphon power from the the neighborhood transformer — and that, of course, is when things start to go seriously awry. We won't spoil what happens, but suffice to say that whatever is reaching out across the boundary that separates the dead from the living, it isn't Ethan's parents — and it certainly has no interest in helping the family heal.

Why have I never heard of Our House?

If you've never heard of Our House before now, you're certainly not alone. The flick was a co-production of Davis Entertainment (which in recent years has produced smaller features such as Game Night and Shaft) and XYZ Films (which has recently fielded such flicks as the Netflix original Code 8 and the bizarre psychological thriller Vivarium). Its American distribution rights were acquired by IFC Midnight, which does a robust business in direct-to-video fare. This basically sealed the movie's fate, and it never received a stateside theatrical release.

With no promotional campaign to speak of, the movie failed to move many units on DVD or Blu-ray — so if you actually had heard of Our House before it popped up on Netflix, you're in a distinct minority. The film did garner mixed-to-positive reviews, with the positive notices praising it for its efficient pacing, its inventive use of sound, and Mann's performance.

It's one of those movies that might never have found its audience if not for Netflix, and it's well worth a watch. If you still happen to be spending a lot of time at home, though, you might want to watch with all the lights on... and if you hear any strange noises, maybe just ignore them.