It's a beautiful shoreline area, and Sarah waits outside while her dad, John, runs errands. "I hit the internet cafe ... answered email ... checked your Facebook page," he tells her when he returns. "What's His Name wrote on your wall again. I think he wants to get back together... Princess, he doesn't deserve you." Uncle Peter's in the house, and he's got something to show John. The house needs a lot of work if the brothers are going to get it in shape to sell. It's been years since they were here ... vandals, rats and neglect have taken a toll. Peter documents the damage with Polaroid snapshots. When John and Peter go to check the basement, they take lanterns because the electricity's out. (Knock, knock, knock) The noise is probably from the basement, but it's spooky, all the same. (Knock, knock, knock) Sarah checks the front door. "Sarah. Wow, I can't believe you're here!" It's Sophia, a neighbor. Obviously Sophia remembers Sarah a lot better than Sarah remembers her. "Let's hang out later," Sophia suggests. She'll just have to come by because there's no phone in the house and their cell phones don't work here.
John and Peter are arguing when they come back up from the basement ... nothing serious. Peter'll cool off when he gets back from town. (Knock, knock, knock) No one's at the door. (Clunk) Her dad tells her it's the rats. (Yuck) "Do you want me to go upstairs and have a look?" (Bang) "Wait! I'll come with you." As they look through the abandoned house, the only thing that seems out of place are the Polaroid photos Peter has left out. John quickly gathers them up. John wants Sarah to start cleaning out one of the rooms, but Sarah still feels uneasy. "Honey, it's an old house. I'm sure it's nothing."
Well (Ping, ping, ping), it's not nothing! And the house is anything but silent! (Boom) Based on an Argentinian film, they say it's inspired by actual events -- I'd take that with a grain of salt. But as the story unfolds, we notice it's happening in real time. The camera has been following them since the very first scene. In fact, the entire movie is one long take. We see and feel the relentless terror as if we're there. But make no mistake -- this does not have the feel of amateur video. The camera work looks as polished as a traditional film. And the fact that there are no cuts intensifies the feeling that there's no escape. Elizabeth Olsen gives an intense and totally believable performance as Sarah ... all the more impressive because there are no cuts or retakes. The music is creepy and perfect. The camera and actors interact as if in a well-choreographed ballet. Even if horror isn't your genre, this movie is worth seeing for the filmmaking craft. (Thump, thump, thump) That'll be your heart.
3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4) Trapped in a sinister old house, this film is a terrifying real-time journey ... skillfully shot as one long uninterrupted take. Popcorn Profile Rated: R (Violence) Audience: Young adults Gender: Co-ed Distribution: Mainstream limited release Mood: Neutral Tempo: Zips right along Visual Style: Unvarnished realism Character Development: Not that kind of film Language: True to life Social Significance: Pure entertainment
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