Monday, September 26, 2011

La Casa Muda: The Silent House Is Mean

Don't you hate mean people? People that cut you in line, people that don't hold the door open for you. People that don't give me their seat on the train, even after puffing out my stomach so it looks like I'm a few months pregnant....the nerve! La Casa Muda while not a person, IS a creepy movie that is mean for several reasons. The most important being that it scared me unfairly at several different moments and now I feel all jittery and on edge. Of course my overall opinion of the film is slightly muddled and I have no idea if I liked it or not. Again, La Casa Muda is just plain mean!

La Casa Muda is a Uruguayan independent film made on a very small budget. It borrows a similar technique found in Hitchcock's Rope--the one continuous shot technique. Of course while Hitchcock employed several little tricks to break the filming up, La Casa Muda supposedly is the real deal. The story focuses on Laura and her father who have come to help in the renewal process of an old house. Laura soon starts to hear strange noises from above but after her father goes to check on it, Laura's real nightmare begins. This is a vague summary but I promise, it's all you really need to know.

It should be known that I greatly dislike AND love movies filled with high levels of tension. La Casa Muda is packed to the gills with high levels of tension. Therefore I both disliked and loved La Casa Muda. Because of its continuous shot motif, the angles used to show the story are very restrictive and allow for very little preparation time. By that I mean....the camera in many ways acts as the eyes of Laura so we are almost forced to be surprised and scared. La Casa Muda however also employs several other mean scare tactics, like having a blackout and using a Polaroid camera to observe the surroundings. Anticipating the next flash is extremely painful for my low tolerance of being scared...especially when a creepy little girl/ghost is suddenly in the room without warning!

Overall most of the film is filled with some extremely well done moments of suspense and good old fashioned creepiness. Sounds and footsteps above, creepy music, dolls strategically placed around the house, creepy photographs and paintings. It's exactly what I yearn for in every failed attempt at a creepy ghost-like story. I suppose some may get annoyed with how slowly it moves at times, but I tended to enjoy that slow build up immensely.

Of course with most movies that I really like, something must go wrong and such is the unfortunate case with La Casa Muda. If you wish to be unspoiled then you may skip this part...La Casa Muda falls prey to the common ailment of a ridiculous and confusing plot twist. To the point where barely anyone who has seen the movie can really tell you what happened. It's also the kind of plot twist that completely negates everything you just watched, which is my least favorite kind of plot twist. Although, once I dove a little deeper into the explanations people gave, I found myself feeling a little more open to how things turned out. This doesn't mean I wasn't still angry or confused, it just means that I think there is at least some point behind the ridiculous. At any rate, yes it's one of those endings so just be warned.

Alright I still don't know where I stand here. La Casa Muda has left me feeling conflicted and funny on the inside. But I still maintain it's a solid entry into the spooktastic world of creepy isolation. You'll all just have to find out for yourselves how you feel about it. This is actually being remade by the people that brought us Open Water. The remake stars Lizzie Olsen AKA the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley. It got extremely positive reviews so all those of you who do not enjoy reading subtitles will hopefully get your chance soon. For those of us that can read--La Casa Muda is available to rent on Itunes.

Tell me how you felt if you saw it--I just don't know what to think!


CashBailey said...

I don't know if those 'one shot' movies are physically possible. Tapes run out, so unless the camera was attached to the biggest hard drive on earth that captured the footage directly I can't imagine it happening.

Adam Mason did a nasty little torture porn movie called PIG not long ago that made the same claim. But I have a pretty good eye for that stuff so I picked up at least three or four hidden cuts.

Still, it sounds like an interesting flick. I may have to keep an eye out for it.

CashBailey said...

I got hold of a copy of this today and checked it out.

Yeah... I'm not quite sure what to make of it. The first half is incredibly tense, especially if you're wearing headphones like I was. I thought the scares were perfectly timed and I actually went "Aaaahhh!!" a bunch of times.

But then it gets weird, confusing and kind of shits the bed. The twist will piss a lot of people off, as twists tend to do. Basically, if you didn't like the ending of HIGH TENSION then you'll despise this movie.

Christine Hadden said...

I've been wanting to see this one but it's still not available on Netflix are you guys getting it? I don't really want to buy it for 20$ from Amazon...

CashBailey said...

Christine: It was released in Australia on DVD in February. I had no idea until I saw Andre's article and went looking.

Failing that I'm sure there are... OTHER ways to get a copy.

LordSlaw said...

It's not horror, but a most excellent and gorgeous one-continuous-shot movie is Russian Ark (2002).

Anonymous said...

Saw the original and the screening for the new release. Instant fan of both versions because of how it's filmed and the choreography between camera and actors is genius. Each version has slight differences in the story. That being said I liked original a little better. It's definitely creepy. if your a slasher fan you'll hate it, if your a suspense fan you'll love it!

Anonymous said...

Bought it on amazon.

Anonymous said...

Very creepy indeed. I bought it on Amazon and I will be giving this shit away... I got to get this out of my mind.. disturbed :-/