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There wasn't much silence in this house.
Silent House (DVD)
Member Name: jeffjen
Silent House (DVD)
Date: 15/06/12, updated on 16/06/12 (91 review reads)
Advantages: Creepy and atmospheric.
Disadvantages: Poor ending, became confusing and didn't hold my interest very well. Not enough happening at times.
Silent House is a remake of Gustavo Hernández' single-take chiller La Casa Muda from 2010. Remade by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (Open Water) I found myself going to see this at the cinema recently, hoping it would be a decent creepy thriller.
The fact is was said to have been shot in one long continuous take was indeed part of the appeal for many, however, this is now doubted, as it has been said it was in fact shot in segments then cleverly edited to look as if it was filmed in one long continuous take.
The film stars Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah, a young girl who finds herself sealed inside her family's secluded lake house which they have been packing up. With no contact to the outside world, and no way out, panic turns to terror as events become increasingly ominous in and around the house. Her father (Adam Trese) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) are the only other people who were also at the house, but events lead to Sarah ending up alone and unable to get out.
Although the film begins in the daylight, most of the action takes place inside the house and as it is boarded up from the inside, the house is in complete darkness and lit only by some oil lamps, battery hand lamps and candles. Thus setting the scene for a creepy tale.
Although this kind of thing has been done before (Paranormal Activity) and you sort of expect some shaky filming, I actually thought at the beginning of this film that I wasn't going to be able to enjoy watching it, due to the jumpy camera and blurring out of focus filming which hurt my eyes to watch and indeed I found myself looking away.
Thankfully things got better and this didnt really happen again, but overall I can't say I really enjoyed the supposed 'one long continuous take' which makes up Silent House and found myself getting a little bored at times.
The film started off fairly promising and indeed creepy, atmospheric and tension building if not somewhat predictable as Sarah's dad goes missing after her uncle has left the house for a while and things are suddenly not what they first seemed.
The camera follows Sarah around the house as her panic increases and she finds herself alone and unable to leave, but someone or something appears to be in the house with her and she finds herself fearing for her life whilst trying to find a way to escape.
I don't think Olsen put in an entirely convincing performance. It wasn't bad, but I have certainly seen better. There was plenty of panting and screaming and therefore it's not really a 'silent house.'
What I did enjoy at first was the building tension and suspense and wondering how it would end. However, what started off as a decent creepy thriller, became confusing from about halfway through in what was quite a poorly paced middle section of the film and it took me a little while to work out what was happening. This is where it started to become too surreal and bordering on ridiculous in places, as some things didn't make sense and indeed Silent House left me with more than one unanswered question at the end. Whilst I realised it was a successful excercise in misdirection, this didn't mean it wasn't confusing.
There was a good twist which I didn't see coming, which perhaps was the saving grace here. Silent House isn't just about a person trapped inside a house trying to escape something evil. The evil is actually something I didn't expect and the film explores some sickening issues, but I felt the ending was a bit of a let down.
The acting from all three characters wasn't brilliant in my opinion and at times Olsen, was irritating. Maybe because there's very little chance for the audience to get to know any of the main characters, it means you don't exactly warm to them. I didn't find I was cheering Sarah on at any time.
There are a couple of jump scares and the creepy, atmospheric atmosphere is evident for much of the film, but the real horror is in the uncertainty of each moment, but I didn't think this was used to as good a effect as it could have been and so ultimately I didn't think it really amounted to anything. Indeed there are times, particularly in the middle of the film where there's not a lot actually happening at all and my interest began to wane here and I never really got it back.
Silent House isn't one to rave about. Worth a watch if it came on TV, but not something I would rush out and buy. Indeed there are better 'scary' thrillers around than this one.
Summary: Creepy and atmospheric but the storyline lets it down.