Elizabeth Olsen creeped me out in Martha Marcy May Marlene and she does so again in this remake of an Uruguayan film, “La Casa Muda,” that purports to be based on a true story from the 1940s – which makes it 1000 times creepier if so. Olsen stars as Laura, a young college student who is helping her father pack an old lake house that belongs to her family. Her uncle Peter, whose relationship with her father appears to be a little strained, is helping out. The only power in the house is supplied by a generator on the top floor; most of the rooms are dark, so they move around with lanterns and flashlights.
After Peter drives into town to look for an electrician, Laura and her father continue to pack and work in separate areas of the house. She keeps hearing strange noises and knocks and then finally a crash; she realizes that they are not alone in the house and soon finds her father’s unconscious body. As the film progresses we see her struggle to elude the intruder, while at the same time uncovering a mystery related to the house.
This is one of the best suspense/horror films I have seen in quite a while. Writer and co-director Laura Lau has created a very strong script, reminding me at times of Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre for its sheer creepiness. The camera work is superior, moving around and around Laura with the illusion of a single take, offering tantalizing glimpses of what is after her. Olsen does the heavy lifting with the camera almost constantly on her and makes it look easy, descending into terror without being shrill or repetitive. This film did not do well in theatres when it was released in April; too bad. I hope people have the sense to check it out on video.