Those Olsens and their houses, huh? On their long-running ABC sitcom, Full House, Mary-Kate and Ashley's biggest horror was dealing with impersonation-prone cohabitant Dave Coulier (that exasperating Rich Little manqu and Alanis Morissette muse). Whereas younger sis Elizabeth has an actual bloodthirsty specter chasing after her in Chris Kentis and Laura Lau's technically accomplished, narratively preposterous remake of the Uruguayan scare film La Casa Muda (2010). First Martha Marcy May Marlene's murderous cult, and now this? Give the girl a break!
Olsen's Sarah already looks like she's been through the emotional wringer when we meet her, sitting silently by the shore of the isolated lake home that she's fixing up with her father (Trese) and uncle (Stevens). It takes a little time for the creepy stuff to start happening, which allows us to be suitably lulled by the film's mostly impressive stylistic gimmick (everything appears to be photographed in a single shot la Hitchcock's Rope). Then the bumps in the night begin, and Olsen gets to run, hide and shriek in the best scream-queen tradition, while the muddy-boot-clad offspring of Leatherface and The Hills Have Eyes' Michael Berryman stomps around with heavy-breathing malice. It's fun for a stretch, and Olsen is so good that she shows up her obstinately awful costars---termites would salivate over their woodenness---something fierce. But even this terrifically talented performer can't sell a Shyama-lana-ding-dong of a third-act twist that will make more eyes than heads roll.
Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich
Watch the trailer