This is an unimaginative ‘re-imagining’ of ‘La Casa Muda’, a low-budget Uruguayan horror movie from 2011 that was allegedly shot in one continuous take. The ‘real terror in real time’ gimmick of the original was a sleight of hand, of course, and the same is true here: despite many additional light sources, there are still plenty of dark shadows in which sly edits can be hidden. In this version, the camera has a distracting obsession with Elizabeth Olsen’s cleavage, but the star of ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ gives a committed, convincing performance as Sarah, a young woman assailed by strange noises and creepy apparitions in her family’s neglected summer house.
Instead of adding the redundant character of Sarah’s childhood friend, Sophia (Julia Taylor Ross), filmmakers Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (‘Open Water’) should have plugged the original’s plot holes and straightened out its logic. There is also a confusing tendency to blur the line between supernatural phenomena and the more tangible, twisted family secrets conveniently blanked out by the film’s amnesiac heroine.