Gustavo Hernández Talks The Silent House (La Casa Muda)

Having seen Gustavo Hernández's single-take horror film La Casa Muda, or The Silent House, we were immediately impressed with his execution of this truly ballsy and unique idea. Lord knows it couldn't have been easy so we decided to catch up with the man himself for a quick Q&A.

His answers are presented below in both English and his native tongue.

Dread Central: Why the decision to film the movie in one take?

Gustavo Hernández: "The sequence shot works to explore in real time the most basic fears that any of us can experience in our own home, like a simple noise in the profoundness of the night. 'Real fear in real time,' without ellipsis of time or space. Simply feel the fears and sensations of the characters like something that is owned by each viewer. I liked the idea of the public not feeling the manipulation of the montage, so that they can hold on to the hand of the main character and explore every corner of the place with her and walk through the same emotions as the character."

"El plano secuencia funciona para explorar en tiempo real los miedos más básicos que cualquiera de nosotros puede experimentar en nuestra propia casa, como un simple ruido en la profundidad de la noche. “Miedo real en tiempo real”, sin elipsis temporales ni de ubicación. Simplemente sentir los miedos y sensaciones de los protagonistas como algo propio de cada espectador. Me gustaba la idea que el público no sintiera la manipulación del montaje, para que pudiera aferrarse de la mano de la protagonista y explorar cada rincón del lugar con ella y transitar por las mismas emociones del personaje."

DC: What was the rehearsal time like both in length and execution?

GH: "We spent many months rehearsing with the actors the emotional curves of the characters and the choreography between them and the technical team. The coordination between both parts was a really big challenge, trying to not lose concentration on the narrative thread. There were frustrating moments where we would have to start all over, learning from mistakes, and new obstacles that would appear day by day."

"Estuvimos varios meses ensayando con los actores las curvas emocionales de los personajes y la coreografía entre ellos y el equipo técnico. Realmente fue un desafío grande la coordinación entre ambas partes tratando de no perder la concentración del hilo argumental. Hubo momentos frustrantes donde empezábamos de nuevo, aprendiendo de algunos errores y obstáculos nuevos que se presentaban día a día."

DC: How much from the real life events was incorporated into the film, and was there anything excluded that you wish you could have gotten in there?

GH: "It is an interesting question because many of my fears are reflected in the movie. There are basic fears, like finding an intruder in my home, and others that are more internal and emotional. The Silent House explores the different tensions that can emerge from the distorted ties of a physical and emotional conflict. We only had 8,000 dollars to make the movie, five days of shooting, three actors, and a house so we had to let go of many ideas that could nourish the story even further, but I believe that we carried out an honest work with the means that we had, and we are satisfied with the result."

"Es una pregunta interesante porque muchos de mis miedos se reflejan en la película. Hay miedos básicos como descubrir a un intruso en mi casa y otros son miedos más internos y emocionales. La Casa Muda explora las distintas tensiones que puede generar los vínculos torcidos de un conflicto físico y emocional. Solo teníamos 8.000 dólares americanos para hacer la película, cinco días de rodaje, tres actores y una casa; así que tuvimos que resignar muchas ideas que podían alimentar aún más la historia, pero creo que hicimos un trabajo honesto con los medios que teníamos y estamos satisfechos del resultado."

DC: What’s next for you - another one-take film, something more traditional or something else altogether that you’d really like to try.

GH: "We are working on a very interesting idea that deals with the horror genre once again. It is called The Funeral of Elbert Kurman, and its spirit is similar to that of The Silent House, risking and experimenting, but from a very different angle of execution and with an unseen narrative concept."

"Estamos trabajando en una idea muy interesante que aborda nuevamente el género de horror. Se llama “El Funeral de Elbert Kurman” y tiene un espíritu parecido a La Casa Muda, arriesgando y experimentando pero desde un ángulo muy distinto de realización y con un concepto narrativo inédito."

DC: What are your thoughts on the remake?

GH: "We haven’t had the opportunity to see the remake yet, but we are anxious to discover the vision of Chris Kentis and Laura Lau on our piece. We are really curious; I hope they surprise us because we think their previous works and artistic likes are interesting."

"Todavía no tuvimos oportunidad de ver la remake, pero estamos ansiosos por descubrir la mirada de Chris Kentis y Laura Lau sobre nuestra obra. Realmente estamos curiosos, ojalá nos sorprendan porque nos parece interesante sus trabajos anteriores y sus gustos artísticos."

DC: What is it about the horror genre that attracted you to filmmaking?

GH: "The horror genre is very rich in emotions and sensations, and that is what film is all about, generating some type of emotion or sensation in the viewer. It is a genre that allows a lot of freedom because the public that consumes it is open and risky. The Silent House is an experimental piece by a group of friends in love with film that found in the horror genre the ideal setting to tell their story."

"El género de horror es muy rico en emociones y sensaciones y de eso se trata el cine, de generar en el espectador algún tipo de emoción o sensación. Es un género que permite muchas libertades porque lo consume un público abierto y arriesgado. La Casa Muda es una obra experimental, de un grupo de amigos enamorados del cine que encontró en el género de horror el marco ideal para contar su historia."

DC: How important was the location for this film? It’s a character in and of itself.

GH: "We looked for the location for 2 months, and that exhaustive exploration was worth it because we needed a place with a solid personality in every corner. There is something familiar and unfamiliar, a perfect ambiguity to hide a story within its walls."

"Buscamos el lugar por dos meses y valió la pena esa exploración exhaustiva porque necesitábamos una locación sólida con personalidad en cada rincón. Tiene algo de familiar y de ajeno, una ambigüedad perfecta para esconder una historia entre sus muros."

Look for The Silent House opening in limited theaters on May 6th from IFC Midnight with a VOD launch to be announced. Keep it locked here for more.

Gustavo Hernández Talks The Silent House (La Casa Muda)

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