Welcome to the Silent House
By Simon Bacal
U.S. Release Date: 3/9/12
When filmmakers / husband and wife team Chris Kentis and Laura Lau last ventured into the horror-thriller field, they fed a young couple, who had become stranded in the middle of the ocean, to some very hungry sharks in their 2003 offering Open Water.
Eight years after their sojourn into the deep blue sea, Kentis and Lau have created horrors of a somewhat different ilk
Photo Credit/Distributor: Open Road Films
Copyright Open Road Films 2012 All Rights Reserved
Their new movie Silent House, an American remake of the Uruguayan film La Casa Muda, stars Elizabeth Olsen, fresh from her acting debut in the intriguing Martha Marcy May Marlene, as Sarah, a young lady who discovers something very nasty in a summer house.
Determined to bring a fresh and unique slant to Silent House, the couple set the story in real time. As a result, the camera follows Olsen around in one continuous shot, as the audience lives her experience. Everything unfolds throughout the course of one very deadly eveniing.
“It’s a new way of creating those jumps, like, what you would get cutting to a door slamming, or seeing curtains over an open window blowing, or cutting to a girl screaming," says Olsen. "We just don’t use those editing devices and I find that exhilarating. "
Chris Kentis says it's extremely challenging to create new horror aimed at hitting the audience hard and fast.
"Pacing, how to reveal information, jumps in time, sculpting the nuances of a performance. All are usually achieved by shooting coverage and of course, through editing, but now, that’s off the table. In a way, you have to think of a new cinematic language to communicate all of this.”
Kentis and Lau first learned about La Casa Muda from Silent House producer Agnès Mentre.
“We were impressed these filmmakers came up with an interesting way to execute their story,” says Kentis, “but we wanted to try a few different things with our film. We were really excited about the idea of doing something in a single shot.”
Directed by Guatavo Hernandez, the original pic, released in 2010, was based on real murders and incest that took place in a Uruguayan village during the 1940s.
"Incest is a very difficult subject matter,” says Lau. “The original stayed away from it, but I felt it was important to be accurate about what would motivate Sarah’s actions.”
As for inspiration, meanwhile, Kentis and Lau viewed director Roman Polanski's Repulsion, as well as countless other chillers involving haunted houses and home invasions.
"We saw the movie as starting out as being perceived as a home invasion story, and then possibly a haunted house film and then ultimately took it to someplace far more horrifying,” says Kentis.
The film originally premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, but Kentis says a different version will hit theatres. The last fifteen minutes were reshot for story pacing purposes.
“It was great to have the film seen with an audience at Sundance and we were really grateful to have the opportunity to improve the film,” says Kentis.
As for the future, Lau and Kentish are currently working on a few projects, but, for now, they’re keeping Mom about details.
“We’re on the same page and we have the same taste,” says Kentis. “I think we bring different talents and different core interests to the table. Same project, same taste, same end goal, but a different point of view.”
Production Company / Distributor : LD Entertainment, Open Road Films and Elle Driver
Directors: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
Stars: Elizabeth Olson
Screenwriter: Laura Lau (Based on A Gustavo Hernandez film “La Casa Muda”)
Producers: Agnès Mentre and Laura Lau
Executive Producers: Adeline Fontan Tessaur, Eva Diederix, George Paaswell, Lynette Howell, Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Hilton Monroe and Danny Perkins
Source:Open Road Films