Happy Friday, little darlings! It’s been a long week, so let’s all take a trust fall back into the marshmallowy softness of AE Movie Club.
This week I’m starting things off with a Reviewlet of the new real-time indie horror flick Silent House, which then kickstarts a discussion of other “parlor trick” movies that successfully used sleight-of-hand to create a unique and engaging filmgoing experience.
It Came From Instant Queue looks under the fur of one of our most beloved playtime pals, our Movie Confessional asks which movies have gotten you out of your seat and out the door before the credits rolled, and of course we’ve got the usual heapin’ helpins of Vintage Beefcake, new posters and trailers, and more movie talk that you can stuff in Jiminy Glick‘s underpants.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …START!
Elizabeth “Don’t Call Me Mary Kate and/or Ashley” Olsen
Reviewlet: Silent House
This week a horror flick with a gimmick that ISN’T “found footage” makes its way to screens, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) is at the center of this inventive and at times very creepy little film that presents itself as a single, uninterrupted 88-minute take. (Of course, it’s very likely several shots cleverly cut together, but it’s a pretty decent facsimile.) The movie is an English-language remake of a film called La Casa Muda that was made in Uruguay last year.
When Alfred Hitchcock pulled the same “single-take” trick in his 1948 thriller Rope, the aim was to create a claustrophobic environment in which to stage his Leopold and Loeb-esque murder and its fallout. In House, the employment of the conceit is all about creating tension, executing scares, and playing with point-of-view. It’s a trick that pays off quite well – mostly due to the grounding provided by the wonderfully measured and at times extremely intense performance of Olsen, who has to go from zero to 200 in 88 minutes with a camera literally in her face the entire time. As with many horror flicks, things fall apart a bit when it comes to resolving the ongoing mysteries – but in the end it actually kind of works. I found it gripping, clever, and satisfying – and it’s a fantastic showcase for one of the most exciting new talents to arrive this year.
I also want to give props to husband/wife filmmaking team Laura Lau and Chris Kentis, who wrote and directed the remake and who a few years back delivered the stunning low-budget shark thriller Open Water. I had the chance to meet them during the Open Water press tour, and they were lovely – glad to see them back and continuing to push the boundaries of indie genre filmmaking.
Here’s the trailer, in case you want to get your freaky on right now: