Not a lot happens. But still, it’s a movie.
La Casa Muda (The Silent House) premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, is based supposedly on a true story that happened in the late 1940’s in Uruguay. Laura (Florencia Colucci) and her father Wilson (Gustavo Alonso) was hired to fix up an old country home so that the owner, Néstor (Abel Tripaldi) can sell it.
When Laura and her father first approached the home, it’s outward appearance was definitely in disrepair: the yard is overgrown, the windows are shoddy and boarded up. Néstor arrives to let them into the place that has no running water or electricity. As Wilson and Néstor discuss plans for the clean-up, Laura is busy lighting candles and looking at all the old pictures on the wall and mantle. Before leaving the two alone in the house, Néstor then warns that it is unsafe to explore the second level of the home due to the floor being unstable. Instead of starting with the clean-up, they decide to get a good nights sleep and begin work in the morning.
While Laura and her father settle in for the night, she begins to hear strange noises, and the sounds are as if someone was walking around upstairs, crying, and dragging something along the floor. She wakes her father and asks if he could check out the upper floor and when he does, the noises suddenly become violent. When her father does not return to her, she then decides to get help. For a few minutes, you see Laura running around frantically searching for help. When she does finally find her father, he is, as luck would have it, dead.
What follows are typical, “scary haunted house” themed events that became progressively worse the longer I allowed the disc to play. Admittedly, I fast forward through much of the film. I simply could not take the lack of sufficient dialogue and impromptu, clichéd ‘surprise’ horrors. There were a couple of occasions in which the film went black, and I will admit startled me pretty good.
See her face? Mine was like this the entire movie.
La Casa Muda’s possible charm is in the way the film was shot apparently, non-stop for the entire 80-minutes it’s depicted on screen. If this is so, then I have to say an impressive feat for director Gustavo Hernández and fortunate enough in theory that the film earned itself a remake. Directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau thought it would be a superb idea to remake the partially successful (also shot in one take) Silent House, starring Elisabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene). Instead of an abandoned house, she experienced her chills and thrills in her family’s posh lakeside retreat.
Now I will have to give it to Colucci, and her one-woman performance is phenomenal and believable. I just wish that the implied horror story was tight. The overall plot is challenging, but as I mentioned before, I found myself fast forwarding through a lot of it. Granted, it is a uniquely formatted horror-tale. However, I don’t care how much that damn camera shook; did nothing to make it a better film.