Read no further if spine-chilling, skin-prickling, nightmare-inducing “horror” flicks are not highlighted on your movie menu.
It is challenging to verbalize the addiction, affliction, attraction to terrifying, tortuous “scary” genres; they are universally ubiquitous and multitudes flock to first screenings at film festivals.
At the risk of offending those whose tastes conflict with mine, I am an elitist when it comes to the fear factor; it has to be real, believable; the first “Halloween” (1978) ranked at the top of the horror heap until “Michael” did not die; it skidded into the fantastical, unbelievable; eliminating the reality of a murderous, mortal miscreant. I also draw the line at “slasher”, “saw”, “vampire”, stomach- rebelling, grizzly gore and guts: selections absent from my film fare. At this point Australia’s “Wolf Creek” (2005) garnishes the Oscar as the most frightening film I have ever seen; resulting in a temporary remission from my fascination of fiendish flicks.
“Silent House”, a remake of Gustavo Hernandez’s “Las Casa Muda” supposedly based on actual events which occurred in 1940’s, Uruguay, registered on my scare scale close to the summit. Husband and wife directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (“Open Water”, brilliantly, brutally, truthfully terrifying) have created a well-crafted, structured scenario, filmed in real time; the audience crawls through the shuddered, creepy darkness with the hapless “Sarah”; all emphasize with her painful, paralyzing plight.
Rarely do I go to a film for the actor but “Silent House” was an exception. Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Mary May Marlene”) as the persecuted “Sarah” is beyond riveting; her potency as a performer is infused with the divine; she is mesmerizing; she thrashes, scorches and devours every scene; her metamorphism, without precedence; a force at twenty-three, I jubilantly anticipate her smashing, meteoric assent.
If this is your first tasting of the “ghastly” you might be tempted to go back for seconds.