Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Silent House » User review

Silent House

A movie directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau

< read all 4 reviews

If These Walls Could Jog Your Memory...

  • Mar 11, 2012
Horror movie remakes are a dime-a-dozen indeed and this is made more fact with 2012’s “Silent House” (it was released at Sundance in 2011). This film is a remake of the Spanish horror movie “The Silent House” (La Casa Muda) directed by Gustavo Hernandez. The original was a low budget exercise that made do with whatever it had. Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau who made their mark with the sleeper hit “Open Water“. The film has been dubbed the ‘exercise’ of “real time” fear and that it is a continuous unbroken one-shot that never stops. I guess one needs to buy its gimmick to really become enthralled with it….once again, it is the power of suggestion that comes into play.

                         Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah in "Silent House.''

A young woman named Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is at her family’s lake house, helping her father (Adam Trece) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) pack things up because they are selling the place. They hardly use the place and the house had seemingly been damaged by squatters, and so the three needs to work within the benefit of electricity relying mostly on flashlights, candles and battery-powered lamps. A young woman (Jennifer Taylor Ross) stops by to say hello, she obviously knows Sarah but she isn’t really too sure. When her uncle leaves, and her dad sends her upstairs to pack, this is when strange things begin to occur. Is this a home invasion or something much more inexplicable?

                     Eric Sheffer Stevens as Peter and Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah in ``Silent House.''

                    Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah in ``Silent House.''

I haven’t had the benefit of watching the original as of yet, and so, I suppose this would be to this remake’s advantage. This is a film that relies on its power of ‘suggestion’, and I am pretty sure that the filmmakers had merely masked its editing to make it appear an ‘unbroken’ shot. I guess one problem that always seem to arise from a gimmick production such as this would be that the audience really wouldn’t know how they should react, or how exactly someone should look at the film. It is easy to be merely be immersed in the film’s novelty rather than paying attention to its narrative. The narrative is indeed pretty simple, and it is stripped of all devices and trickery. The film’s publicity were more focused on Olsen’s performance and depends on one simple narrative exposition.

It is a little difficult to review a movie such as this without spoilers, but I will try anyway. Much of the film is all about Sarah; the camerawork and the screenplay is all based on following her around as she stumbles, screams, panics and runs around inside and outside the house. From the film’s first act, you already that something is amiss, I mean there are some weird exchanges in dialogue, things that really isn’t that normal. It tries to be subtle, but the exposition feels a little ‘in your face’. The script then takes the viewer along with some shaky camera work, as we are taken to follow Sarah around as we see the house’s layout. The film keeps things as close to Sarah as it possibly can, just so it can generate a feeling of raw fear and panic. It is risky, and yes, it started to feel redundant after awhile, but that all comes together in the film’s final act.

                        Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah in ``Silent House.''

                        Eric Sheffer Stevens as Peter and Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah in ``Silent House.''

The film’s twists and expositions were rendered quite efficiently. The second and final act of the film does manage to come together as the direction was able to do its job simply and yet it had that capable hand in drawing out the scenes. One needs to understand that while the house’s anatomy wasn’t that credible, the intentional risk masks a more psychological topography in helping the film draw forth its horror effects. I suppose that there were some scenes when the film’s style did get in the way, and it is hard to depend on one actress to pull everything off. But I have to admit the film was real sincere in its intentions, and I have to say that it wasn‘t a conventional horror movie. Yes, the film‘s final act wasn‘t original and yes, I‘ve seen it done better, but I really appreciated the way it unfolded. It did however, telegraph the twist about 25 minutes into the film, I knew what it was going to be about, but I just wasn’t sure how it would play out. This means that the film did have a solid footing since the film was only 88 minutes long. It is good when a film does follow through with solid clues, it made the narrative much more credible and the execution well-rounded.

                   Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah in ``Silent House.''

I guess I have to give Olsen credit where credit is due. She was in fact really good in her portrayal. I mean, it is hard enough to become convincing when expressing terror, and it is even harder when the script left her out to dry. She truly acted her heart’s worth as she comes out with several noteworthy moments that made me root for her character. She aided in the film’s tension and the scares became credible because of her reaction. Olsen was charismatic and beautiful; I hope to see her in another horror film.

“Silent House” is a simple horror movie, and it is an acting decathlon for Olsen which just made me a fan. The film isn’t anything special or essential, and it certainly isn't for everyone, but it is very much worth a watch at least once. It is successful and strong enough to stand for what it was supposed to do.

Timid Recommendation [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

                        Poster art for "Silent House."

If These Walls Could Jog Your Memory... If These Walls Could Jog Your Memory... If These Walls Could Jog Your Memory...

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
March 14, 2012
Great review man, I was wondering about this.
March 14, 2012
This was really carried along by Olsen's performance. I liked the ambition and style, but the plot was a little half-baked.
March 11, 2012
This is rated R - right? Asking because Brandi wants to see it and wanted to make sure she would be OK with this one -- from your review I think it would be fine for her and besides that, I want to see it too! I told her you had reviewed this one and she came running to see your review LOL. Yep...you got a young fan in your midst!! Great review by the way....
March 11, 2012
LOL! Yes, this is rated R because there are themes that are a little too...well, I dunno how to say it, sensitive for young viewers? I enjoyed this one, the only thing that kept me from rounding up its 3.5 rating is that it rather felt a little redundant in some areas, since the one-unbroken shot trick started to show its weaknesses. Thanks for the read and tell Brandi I said hello... :)
March 11, 2012
OK - I think this would be OK for her; she's seen worse when we rent Rated R movies..LOL and she said "Hey Woo" back....the scary stuff doesn't bother me with her, sexual content does bother me; I steer her away from that altogether. Thanks babe...
More Silent House reviews
review by . October 07, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****    I have rather vague memories of Gustavo Hernandez's disappointing "La Casa Muda" (literal English translation: "The Silent House"). What I do remember is that it was supposedly shot all in a single take (and boy, did it look as if it was) and that there were some genuinely creepy moments. I also remember it being disappointing and overall kind of stupid; getting progressively more absurd as it went along until an insanely silly final twist sealed the deal …
review by . March 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         For the first hour or so if it’s highly publicized eighty-eight minutes, Silent House had me hook, line, and sinker. But then I reached the climactic surprise twist, and something changed. In part, it had to do with not wanting the mystery to be solved; I appreciate a good explanation as much as the next moviegoer, but I also believe that situations are infinitely more frightening when they happen for no apparent reason. Mostly, however, it …
review by . July 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Too Silent
SILENT HOUSE Written by Laura Lau Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau Starring Elizabeth Olsen   Imagine being trapped in a secluded lake house with an intruder and little way to defend yourself. There is no electricity, no phone service and you have no idea where the key to the front door is. Imagine how tense every single minute of that experience would be and you have SILENT HOUSE, a thriller from Chris Kentis (OPEN WATER) and Laura Lau (directorial debut), and remake of the 2010 …
About the reviewer
William ()
Ranked #1
Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie



Genre: Horror
Release Date: Mar. 9, 2012
MPAA Rating: R

First to Review
© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since