adam trese, chris kentis, elizabeth olsen, eric sheffer stevens, haunted house, horror, kurt cobain, laura lau, martha marcy may maylene, silent house
“Who Can It Be Now?”
Grade: C+ (SKIP IT)
DREAM House. SAFE House. FULL House’s Olsen twins and their kid sister Elizabeth whose Silent House is a mixed bag of a horror film and Elizabeth Olsen’s second major effort on screen (following last year’s “Martha Marcy May Maylene”). There’s little doubt that Olsen’s star will continue to rise, but “Silent House” is hardly the film to pave the way: it’s a slow-burner that never quite ignites; it’s built on the hoariest of horror flick clichés – the haunted house – with an unspeakable crime at its center that’s scarier than any of the film’s few jumps and jolts.
As Sarah, Olsen is stranded inside a family vacation home already boarded-up and ready for sale. She’s flanked by her father (Adam Trese) and uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) who bicker in a jovial, brotherly way as Sarah packs up her childhood belongings and carries a lantern from room to room. The creepiness of her Dad’s affect – is he looking out for his young daughter or looking down her low-cut shirt? – should tip any perspicacious viewer off to the film’s central trauma. Sarah appears on edge and when something goes bump in the night, her father assures her: “Honey, it’s an old house. They make noise.” But this is a silent house, remember, and its worst memories are kept hush-hush.
The most noteworthy aspect of “Silent House” is its cinematography, particularly the moody aerial of Sarah perched on a rock by the water at the film’s opening. Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, “Silent House” purports to be shot in real-time and in virtually one continuous close-up shot of Olsen’s panicked pallor. (Here, it follows in the footsteps of the Uruguayan Spanish-language original, “La Casa Muda,” released in 2010). Perhaps Kurt Cobain screeched it best back in 1991: “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous/Here we are now, entertain us.” The lights are out in “Silent House,” and since its real horror can’t be fully known (nor shown), you’ll likely find yourself less than entertained.
Logan Burd said:
The only reason I considered seeing this was for its supposed continuous shooting, so you’re saying that didn’t win you over?
The camera keeps it moving but its real horror, if I were to spoil, isn’t so much a spoiler but sickening…
Without spoilers here, I was similarly unimpressed… But you’re right, the movie is impressive technically. Olsen’s also amazing. I just have such an issue with the ending, I can’t get beyond it. I had to really hammer it grade wise…
Good write-up Colin.
Thanks man; I hate the “Sixth Sense” ending/gimmick where we’re made to question everything we just watched…sometimes it works, most times not.
Good review, I’m not usually one fir these things that go bump in the night movies ecept for the great Scream and now over extended Final Destination movies. This looks like one to skip.
Yeah, haven’t seen many horror flicks on your blog; I like to be scared but the movies only rarely pull that off…
I actually liked the movie, if only because it’s different than the typical scary movie. It keeps you guessing as to whether it’s an actual haunting or more of a home invasion-“The Strangers” type of thing. And the Olsen girl wasn’t bad, except sometimes when she’s crying it sounds more like laughing.
THE STRANGERS is a good connection, and that one scared me more because of the sheer inexplicability of the attacks whereas here, we later learn why she’s being terrorized. Thanks Gracie!
Check out my review if you get a chance and you will see why I was disappointed with this movie.
I’m going to put your site on my links page.
Thanks for your support!
Thanks! A disappointment, indeed!
I added you my links under the blogroll section.
Thanks, I will return the favor soon! That’s some icon image! Write on…
Pretty much agreed on all accounts, though just for the technical chops maybe I’d slightly recommend it. But yeah, there’s no stopping Elizabeth Olsen, she’s headed for great things!