Thursday, March 08, 2012

La Casa Muda (The Silent House)

The remake with Elizabeth Olsen, which I have yet to see, comes out tomorrow but I have a few thoughts on the 2010 original. For the last couple of months, I've been on a steady diet of foreign thrillers and horror. I haven't gotten around to writing about them, but La Casa Muda was one of the more interesting attempts I came across...

Trapped inside an old house, a father and daughter are terrorized by some one ... or some thing. The main selling points: "inspired" by a true story and shot in one continuous take.

It's hard to go wrong with a low-budget, single location thriller with some compelling hooks. The first two acts deliver the goods effectively. Dark and creepy atmosphere. Escalating tension. Obviously, it's easier to become emotionally invested in a story with just a few characters rather than one packed with killer-fodder. Anyway, things are going great, the story's clicking on all cylinders -- until the third act abruptly stalls and eventually sputters towards an unsatisfying and nonsensical ending.

The filmmakers were hard to pin down on the inspiration for this "true" story. A vague reference to a crime supposedly committed in the 1940s in Uruguay was the extent of the truth. The bit about one continuous take is also misleading, but it does help engage the viewer. Every scene feels important. I really liked the presentation. Unfortunately, the storytelling in the third act was a letdown.

It doesn't sound like the remake is significantly different from the original. I'm curious to see how audiences react to the final 10-15 minutes.

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