The Silent House (aka La Casa Muda) is an intense, (seemingly) simple story about a girl and her father hired by a friend of the family, to go out to a dilipidated, boarded-up house in the country and spend the weekend getting the place cleaned up and in reasonably good condition for sale. Once there, they find themselves the victims of a terror within the house.
Filmed in one continuous shot (and for a grand total of six thousand dollars), the 'one continuous shot' angle serves as more than an interesting novely or a way to actually make a good movie on such a tight budget: it puts the happenings one hundred per cent in real time and narrows the entirety of the movie into a very tight, intense focus. It's not a 'found-footage' movie (although it does share a lot of the atmosphere and characteristics of the best of that sub-genre), but the camera does stay on the girl and her immediate surroundings for at least 90% of the time, roaming away only for a few key moments. In this way it remains very much a point-of-view film.
This is one that requires close attention and, preferably, multiple viewings. Some very interesting things happened watching this movie. On my first viewing, a lot of things that were going on, especially with the way the characters acted, didn't seem to be making much sense until the end when things started falling into place and I thought I had it pretty much figured out. As the movie finishes, one is left not only shaken but wondering if they pieced things togther right and, as with other mindbenders like The Sixth Sense (Collector's Edition Series), Spider Forest and Shutter Island, you're left wanting to watch it again.
On the second viewing is where it got weird. Watching closely you may see that certain assumptions from the first watch don't really play out or make sense anymore. Some of the explanations didn't seem to fit as much. Here's the strangest part, and something I don't remember ever happeening to quite the same effect with any other movie: as logic breaks down more and more, the movie abruptly gets scarier and scarier. It's like there's something the conscious mind isn't quite picking up on, but is freaking the hell out of the subconscious. Not that it wasn't already disturbing and frightening, but this whole 'subconscious freak-out' thing really pushed it over the top. I've talked to several people who've seen this who generally get different interpretations of things in here, both from me and from each other. It's possible there simply is no 'tipping point' where everything clicks in and makes sense (like with The Sixth Sense) but there's definately something weird going on.
I do generally love 'open-to-interpretation' movies with ambiguous endings, but often times This Much ambiguosness might be overkill. With The Silent House it jusy makes it tremendously creepy and haunting. A great movie, and a great entry for Uruguay onto the international horror scene (they've done a couple of horror movies before, but I don't think any of them got much of a release outside their own backyard; I know I hhaven't managed to see them).
Fright fans have got to get The Silent House.