Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. It's not a horror film, per se - the horror comes from the fact that it's so realistic and you're utterly sucked into the story. It's a fairly quiet movie but the tension just builds and builds and builds. I sat through much of it, dreading what was going to happen, hand over my mouth.
Elizabeth Olsen is Martha, who has spent the last two years living in a commune headed by an insidious Manson-like leader (John Hawkes who is suitably creepy). She's just run away from the cult (escaped, really), and calls her estranged sister (Sarah Paulson) who brings her to stay with her and her husband. Olsen is mesmerizing in this, her first leading role. She has a beautiful, expressive face and her performance seems effortless. We'll be seeing lots more of her, I'm sure.
All of the performances are stellar, so natural and real that you feel like you're watching a documentary.
I'm sure there are those who won't like the ambiguous ending but I, for one, couldn't have handled any more.
Five out of five stars for Martha Marcy May Marlene.