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The plot is based on a true story that happened in the late '40s in a small village in Uruguay. The film focuses on Laura, who, second by second, intends to leave a house, which hides an obscure secret, unharmed. Laura and her father Wilson settle down in a cottage they have to renew since its owner will soon put the house up for sale. They will spend the night there and repair the following morning. Everything seems to go smoothly until Laura hears a sound that comes from outside and gets louder and louder on the upper floor of the house. Wilson goes up to see what is going on while she remains downstairs on her own, waiting for her father to come down. Written by
From its first scene, La Casa Muda establishes an excellent atmosphere of horror and anguish thanks to the rural locations and the efficient "hand-held" work which brings it a semi-documentary style and makes us to "live" the characters' point of view in order to experiment the horror. And during the second scene...one moment...There is no second scene! The whole movie was filmed in a long continuous take (supposedly), something which might be a bit baffling on the beginning. But I could immediately "get into" the screenplay, and that became into an essential factor in order to emphasize the suspense which was achieved by this modest horror film, which might not be great, but which kept me very interested and entertained.
I admire the audacity of making the whole movie in a single take; I guess that the new digital cameras make that feat possible without as many tricks as various years ago (even though the mention of an editor during the credits makes me to suspect a little bit of that). Something which suffered because of that during the beginning was the audio, because it frustrated me a little bit not being able to listen some dialogs from the beginning well; fortunately, the rest of the film is almost mute, so the deficient audio is not such a terrible problem. After all, the visual minimalism puts the emphasis on the performances and the direction, which are enough competent in order to compensate any technical problem.
Talking about the performances, Florencia Colucci's excellent work in the leading role is particularly worthy of mention, because she can perfectly express complex emotions without the need of words. Instead of using the camera for showing us her point of view, director Gustavo Hernández frequently aimed it to her face, making her an "empathic guide" for the spectator, something which is very well complemented by Colucci's performance. As for the twist in the end, I found it interesting, but there are a few details which make it to feel a bit forced; anyway, I cannot deny I liked it, mainly because I did not see it coming.
In conclusion, La Casa Muda is a very competent horror film which deserves a recommendation, at the same time that it proves that there is no need for many resources or special effects in order to keep us in suspense.
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