This movie is about Sarah as she and her dad go to their lakeside retreat to pack things up inside because it is being sold. While there, her uncle also helps get the place up to scratch so they can sell it. The uncle has to leave to get an electrician to check the wiring, but after he goes she starts hearing noises and seeing what she thinks are people inside the house. Soon she and her dad are attacked by someone or something and they end up in a fight for their lives. But there's something more going on here than she thinks. Written by
Michael Hallows Eve
Silent House is directed by Chris Kentis and written by Laura Lau. It stars Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer Stevens. Music is by Nathan Larson and cinematography by Igor Martinovic. A remake of Uruguayan film, La casa muda (The Silent House), story has Olsen as Sarah, a young woman who finds herself locked in the abandoned family home she was helping her father and uncle to clear out before it is sold. Soon Sarah finds herself pursued by an unseen assailant and she struggles to make sense of what is festering in the house.
Forget the gimmick that comes with the film, that of the use of "real time" to give off the effect of one continuous take, it doesn't impact on how you ultimately will feel about the film either way. It comes down to if you can buy into another haunted house movie whilst accepting the outcome as being worth your time. Horror fans are notoriously hard to please, even when something original happens along, such as the recent The Cabin in the Woods, a good portion of the horror faithful will remain displeased. Silent House is what it is, a hugely efficient haunted house creeper that admirably builds suspense and then shows its twisty hand. If you want fresh and exciting, and I keep seeing people write that "such and such" didn't bring nothing new to the table whilst themselves not offering up exactly what could be brought to said table, then it's very unlikely Silent House will fill your horror hungry bellies.
Coming from the makers of Open Water, it's evident that Silent House wants to have realism on its side, it's stripped back for impact, with a less is more approach to its garnering of chills. With Olsen terrific, and she is, we are asked to put ourselves in that house and be in her shoes to feel the terror. Not everyone can do that, obviously, but being able to do that considerably makes Silent House a far better movie than its lowly internet ratings suggest it is. The scares are not over done, the music score is suitably sparse as claustrophobia reigns supreme, the use of natural light impressive and the camera glides about as an ethereal observer, technically it is a very effectively constructed haunted house picture. It's also refreshing to find the makers are able to use credible reasons for characters to be in and out of the house, this isn't about the dumb decision making so often rife in this sub-genre of horror over the years.
Sadly the third act is weak as the scares, tech attributes and atmosphere subside, we land in familiar territory and the big reveals, whilst thematically potent and never to be scoffed at, lack the desired impact and the film closes down more on a whimper instead of the terrified scream the rest of the film deserved. A shame, because for the most part this is a very good genre offering for those who have a bent for such spooky/home invasion doings. 7.5/10
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