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The Spooky Thriller Flop That's Getting A Second Chance On Netflix

It's not easy to plan a family movie night around a horror film, but the latest spooky thriller heating up the Top 10 chart on Netflix is perfect for co-viewing with scary movie-loving tweens and teens. The movie is "The Strange House," an Austrian import that didn't garner much praise upon its initial release in 2020. In fact, the movie doesn't even have enough critic ratings to garner a Rotten Tomatoes score — but don't let that deter you from checking this one out.

Despite its low profile at the box office, "The Strange House" is a charming and spooky haunted house flick that's perfect for families and anyone who prefers mild scares over full-on horror. The movie kicks off with a single mother, Sabine (Julia Koschitz), and her two sons, Hendrik (Leon Orlandianyi) and Eddi (Benno Rosskopf), moving from Germany to Austria. In true teen fashion, Hendrik is grumpy about the move even before he realizes his new home is haunted, but he soon has bigger problems on his hands when his little brother Eddi becomes possessed.

From there, Hendrik bonds with his new friends — Fritz (Lars Bitterlich) and Ida (Marii Weichsler) — as they delve into the mystery surrounding the house's past. Along the way, the movie tosses out ample scares, but the fright level remains refreshingly low. If you can handle "Stranger Things" or the 2017 version of "It" then "The Strange House" should be a breeze.

Strange House's standout young cast is the best reason to check it out on Netflix

The real draw of "The Strange House" is the young cast's effortless chemistry. These days, TV shows and movies featuring groups of tweens and teens investigating mysterious events are all the rage, and on this front, "The Strange House" can stand with the best of them. While it would be easy to let the young actors embrace movie stereotypes, this sprightly horror film allows each of them to develop into fully fleshed out characters instead.

For instance, Hendrik's reluctance to move isn't his sole character-defining feature. He's also an excellent brother and a brave teen who doesn't shy away from investigating the dark backstory of his new home in hopes of keeping Eddi safe.

However, the movie's standout is definitely Fritz, a quirky young man who lightens the mood by dropping wonderfully weird quips throughout the film. Even though he's an easy target for the other kids at school to pick on, he never lets their behavior get him down. Instead, he forges ahead with his mission to help Hendrik with little worry about his own personal safety. 

While it's true "The Strange House" isn't reinventing the haunted house genre, the movie is a fun, slightly scary tale of young friendship and fresh starts. This one is perfect for anyone looking for a horror movie with minimal frights, a solid cast, and a compelling story. It's certainly not a perfect film, but there's no denying "The Strange House" is a fun one.