(Gustavo Hernandez; Uruguay; 2010)
The hype and buzz around this horror film is that it has been crafted entirely in one-take on a single digital camera. Does that mean its any good? Mostly yes. Good house-based horror films often work on a simple premise – people go into a house in the middle on nowhere, bad stuff happens inside the house, people are trapped, some people get killed, either some people survive and escape or the bad thingies win. This films works on such a simple premise – father and daughter go to a house to clean it up for a friend, dad goes upstairs, something unpleasant happens, daughter walks gingerly through house scared out of her mind and trying to work out what the hell is going on. But the added element is the single-take – it allows for extended slow passages of creepy unease, as we wait and wait for the next potential fright to come out from behind a door or above a fridge.
Although there are minor tell-tales signs of the stock-standard horror-film tropes – muted colours and tinkly mournful piano soundtrack at the beginning of the film, for example – this is not a bad first-time entry from Uruguayan director Hernandez into the horror genre. The twists and turns the film take in the last third of the film wonderfully up-end all of the preconceived ideas about what is going on, although its resolution does feel a tad weak.