'T'will be awesome.
So, apparently smart, remade horror gets to show at Sundance. Who knew, right? I'm not quite sure Silent House qualifies but, whattayagonnado? I'm pretty sure the fact that it contains the last surviving Olsen sister made it a rarity they couldn't pass up.
The Olsen Twins aren't dead? Could have fooled me. They both look like zombies. Maybe if they invested in a damn sandwich from time to time.
The story goes like this. Our heroine, Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), is trying, with her father and her uncle, to fix up the family's lakehouse to sell it. There's some petty bitching. It ain't pretty. Uncle leaves to get tools, Dad storms off upstairs and there's a knock at the door so Sarah goes to get it.
Oh, hey! It's a childhood friend that she doesn't remember being all creepy and stuff. Don't you LOVE when that happens?
Nobody deserves creepy childhood friends. Not even an Olsen sister.
So, she has her chat and returns to her work and suddenly... and inexplicably... there's someone in the house and the doors are locked and she can't get out. She finds her dad but he's got a concussion and isn't good for a whole lot of anything. More chasing ensues. Sarah finds evidence of squatters in the basement which is INSANELY huge for some reason. Did they keep a minotaur in there or something? I'd need to hang up signs to find my way out of that cellar!
So, yeah, she gets out through the cellar door and Uncle is back. She wants to leave. Uncle says they have to go back for Dad. Hilarity ensues. Twist ending that I'm not gonna tell you.
PLUG IT UP!! PLUG IT UP!!
The neat thing about this film is that, like Alfred Hitchcock's Rope the movie appears to have been shot in a single, continuous take. It totally WASN'T but we can thank a good editor for that. Barring the blood patterns on her sweater and tank top, we hardly notice the continuity goofs. There is no excuse for the visible microphone late in the film.
From a plot standpoint, though, even though the film was supposedly based on true events in the 1940s in Uruguay that nobody can corroborate, the movie is simple until it gets to the end and then it all goes to shit. Yes, horrific things happen and HAVE happened but they're jumbled. I did like the very gothic feel of the movie and it had that sense of "campfire story" that always makes for a good time but it felt just a hair too "Blair Witch" to be truly effective.
Ultimately, this is one of those movies that is too ambiguous to be "love it or hate it". I don't think anyone can really do either. There are fantastic things about it, like the fact that I can watch an Olsen sister in a movie without wanting to tear out my eyes and run screaming into the night, but there are bad things about it, too, like the lighting which COMPLETELY sucks and actually serves more as a distraction than a mood-enhancing device.
So, there you have it, I guess. Watch it. Your mileage may vary. Eat a sandwich while you're watching. Nobody likes a skinny Santa.