I’m too timid to enjoy the gory slapdash of slasher flicks. I see too many shapes in the shadows to consider Japanese horror. I even closed my eyes during Scary Movie 3. Yet, I couldn’t stop watching Michael Haneke’s 2005 french thriller Caché – although it’s scary enough to chill the blood in your veins.
Caché opens with a continuous shot of a house taken from a static camera. We shortly learn that this tape was delivered anonymously to the owners of the house who are now watching it – rewinding, pausing and trying to make sense of it. The unsettled couple – Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil) and Anne Laurent (Juliette Binoche) – are then increasingly terrorized by more tapes, delivered with threatening line drawings made in a child’s hand.
Director Haneke stages almost every shot in Caché with painstaking attention to detail. He probes our fears and stokes our sense of dread. He plants wonderful little scenes in the movie which nudge us towards the subtext of the plot.
Auteuil plays his character with a stunned disbelief – he’s dazed by the turn of events. But the beauty of Caché is in its story – ordinary people reacting to extraordinary circumstances in devastating ways. Even Haneke’s sucker punch – a four minute medium range closing shot again from a static camera that contains buried clues to his mystery – doesn’t feel gimmicky.