We’re still reeling (and compulsively looking over our shoulders) from Elizabeth Olsen’s haunting performance as an escaped cult inductee in Martha Marcy May Marlene, and just when our Xanax has finally started to kick in, she returns to the box office this weekend in the horror film Silent House. (Take it from us, after 87 minutes, we went from reeling to the fetal position.) From Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, the married directing duo behind 2003’s Open Water, the film unfolds in what looks like one continuous shot (in fact 13 shots impeccably seamed together) as a run-down, boarded up summer home creaks and cracks Olsen’s determined heroine into frenzied desperation. Below, the rapidly rising star reveals her scary movie diet, and how at least one of those movies still rattles her.
ELLE: What’s the last scary movie that really terrified you?
Elizabeth Olsen: The last one that really terrified me was actually … My brother made me watch this one because he knew I was filming Silent House. It’s a great French horror movie—also about people trapped in a house—called Ils (“Them”). I watched it while house sitting alone in my godmother’s house. It was terrifying.
ELLE: What about the first movie that scared you?
EO: I was the youngest of four siblings, so I saw everything that they were allowed to see—and we weren’t sheltered kids. So I saw Arachnophobia, Jaws, and Tremors by the time I was four or five. Those are the big three that come to mind.
ELLE: What’s your most irrational fear?
EO: That spiders will actually kill me. While filming Josh Radnor’s movie, Liberal Arts, I was staying in a dorm room in Kenyon College, and I happened to have a nest of spiders in my dorm. One time there was this black spider going up and down, up and down, up and down in the doorway. So I couldn’t even get to the outside world! I just stared at it, picturing the scene from Arachnophobia where they jump straight at Jeff Daniels while he tries to blow fire at them.
ELLE: Do you have a favorite or least favorite horror subgenre?
EO: I like them all. Actually, I don’t like slasher movies so much. I just watched Nightmare on Elm Street, and I thought, ‘Yeah, that was just okay.’ Give me psychological horror—the kind that really screws with your head.