Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on March 9, 2012
Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
Written by Laura Lau
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Julia Taylor Ross, Adam Barnett, Haley Murphy
These days, there seems to be a little repetition when it comes to horror films, so for me it’s always a nice surprise when I find one that’s either smartly done or offers something new. In my opinion, both of these expectations were delivered with Silent House, a nerve-wracking tale that offered a bit more than the patented ‘stalked by someone or something in the house’ storyline.
Here, Elizabeth Olsen stars as Sarah, a young woman who, along with her father and uncle, visit their run-down, lakeside house with the intention of fixing it up before a sale; while working inside, Sarah hears what sounds like an intruder upstairs. And for her, that’s when it all goes south, as her father goes missing, the mysterious intruder relentlessly stalks her, and she’s suddenly and inexplicably unable to escape the house. Along the way, she and the viewer continue to receive more and more hints that something else is going on beneath the surface, but like Sarah, you never find out what that something is until the end.
I knew nothing about this film going in, and it me several minutes after the opening shot to to realize it was all being filmed to appear as one continuous take, with the camera following Sarah wherever she went, and acting as her eyes wherever she looked; you experienced everything she did, when she did, and the one-take philosophy really made the fear concept work, and truly offered some quality chills.
I can’t remember ever watching a film where I’ve seen someone display the level of dread that Olsen showed here, and I was really impressed with how she handled these emotions. Like Olsen, the film did its job well, and credit should also go to the directors—who succeeded with the filmmaking nightmare of making the single take look perfectly seamless for 82 minutes—and the music score by Nathan Larson, which played like an ominous background tone throughout.
Unfortunately, there had to be a drawback, and for me that was the change-up thrown at the conclusion, which I guess made sense for the story that was being told, but in my eyes was a typical cop-out, and to some extent ruined the framework that the story had worked so hard at creating. Otherwise, a thrilling little psychological horror film that for some reason has gotten a bad rap; for me, it was some tension-filled fun on a Friday night. (7/10)