Also known as “The ‘single shot’ horror flick co-starring Elizabeth Olsen’s cleavage.” I wasn’t super psyched about checking this out, despite my love of both horror and long takes. Why? Mostly because of the rather bland reviews it’s received. It’s easy to review good movies. It’s easy to review bad movies. What really boring to review are those middle-of-the-road, boringly average movies. But did it rise above the lack of hype? The film is about Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), as she comes back to an old summer home with her dad (Adam Trese) and uncle Peter (Eric Stevens) to clean it up and get it ready to sell. But soon she finds her dad has been attacked and somebody is in the house… and she can’t get out.
To be fair, the story is actually a little more detailed at its core. I can’t go into details, though, without spoiling it. The film is more of a mystery/thriller than a horror film. You’re mainly trying to figure out what’s going on and why rather than hoping she can escape (though there’s that, too). I’m not sure how affective the main twist is, though, either, since you can start picking up on it within the first 10 minutes and basically have it figured out completely by the third act.
The film is mostly known for the fact that it’s filmed to look like one long, continuous take. Of course it’s only about 10-minute takes with sneaky cuts hidden throughout. But I’ll give it up to the film and say that I only really noticed a couple of them. The rest I had ideas where they might have happened, but I couldn’t tell you that I actually saw the cuts. So in that regard, it actually did fairly well. But was it a story worth the format? I say it’s an interesting option. It really plays with reality and perception, since we’re seeing everything from Elizabeth Olsen’s perspective (or the perspective that aims right down into her low-cut shirt… a perspective we get quite often throughout the film). I will say one of the best things I’ve read on this film that mix these two thoughts together is as follows (taken from a commenter on imdb): “The cuts were terribly obvious. The blood splatters on her tits kept changing.” I wouldn’t say the cuts themselves were that obvious, but you get the idea.
I can pretty much just wrap this up. The acting is fine and all, so nothing to say there. I asked the question earlier of whether or not this rises above the reviews of mediocrity. The answer is… not really. It’s a horror/thriller with no horror and very few thrills. There are some legitimately good scenes mixed in, but for the genre, they’re way too few and far between. I can’t imagine this being a good re-watch, as the main things that kept me interested were looking for the hidden cuts and trying to figure out the mystery. Otherwise it’s not that captivating. Again, it’s not terrible. And the story is actually a good one, especially for the psychological factor and using the one-shot take to portray it. But outside of that, it’s really nothing special.