Sunday, March 18, 2012

Late Review: Silent House (2011)

Silent House (2011)

Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Terese

Writers:  Gustayo Herandez, Laura Lau

Directors:  Chris Kentis, Laura Lau

* out of four

"Silent House" has a great technical premise.   A horror movie that is all done in one continuous shot making it appear to be filmed in real time.   This movie takes the whole found footage aspect and tries to improve on it by having no edits or any cuts at all.  I would be more impressed by this technique if the story or characters were more interesting.

Before any of the scares begin.  We are introduced to Sarah(Elizabeth Olsen) her father John (Adam Terese) and her uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) . Sarah has come over to help them renovate a family getaway home because they are planning on selling it.  While she is there, she begins to suspect that someone else is there too and they are coming after her and her father.

(Trailer Courtesy of LD Entertainment)

I would be a lot more scared if I understood exactly what it was that Sarah was running away from.  You never see what freaks her out so much.  It's almost like she's running away from nothing.  I know she can see it, why can't I.   This movie has several moments where it does build up some good tension and suspense, but it never finishes.   It's like having someone give you great oral sex but then just stops half way through.

Since most of this movie is filmed at night and the house doesn't have much light.  The whole continuous shot gimmick wears very thin because there are tons of opportunities to change cameras and other devices.  The only movie in existence to have been done is a single take is "Russian Ark". The one scene that impressed me the most was Sarah just using a flash camera to see her way around a dark room after the lights have been cut off.  That was a good scary moment and the only good thing about this movie.


Elizabeth Olsen is a good actress and I look forward to seeing her in more films, but she really isn't that impressive in this.   The whole second act of the movie is just her running and screaming or hiding and being scared.   The casting of Adam Terese was also hard to believe because  he looked and behaved more like her boyfriend than her father.

I'm not going to give away any spoilers in this review , but the ending made no damn sense whatsoever.  It look like they added that element in at the last possible second .  I for one love it when filmmakers pull the rug up under me when I'm watching a movie, but it has to make sense in the entire context of the story.  The only places where I can expect random things to appear and not make any sense is in  a "Looney Tunes"  short or in a Monty Python" presentation. 

This movie is a remake of a Spanish Language flick and after seeing the trailer listed below. I wish I would have seen that one before seeing this version. The one thing that stands out in the original is that I can see more of what's going on. It's not filmed in complete darkness.

(Trailer: Courtesy of IFC FIlms )


  1. Another pointless remake. I've seen the original and apart from the single take aspect, it wasn't very scary or memorable either.

  2. Damn it, I was afraid of that. I still might check it out,just to make a fair compairison. Thanks for the warning though.

  3. It's a horror flick that's definitely a lot better than what you would expect in today's day and age, much ado to the technical side of it, but for some reason, the ending seems like a bit of a let-down. At least Olsen is easy on the eyes. Good review Vern.

  4. I still can't belive she's realted to Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, but I'm glad she waited to be an actress.

  5. I was interested in this because of Lizzie Olsen who is a fine talent, she was superb in Martha Marcy May Marlene. Looks like I'll skip this, I've seen the original which was ok until the silly final act.

  6. Thanks Myerla. So the orginal has the same fantastic ending too huh. Guess I can scatch that off my list. Oh well at least the remake gave me 88 minutes with Elizabeth Olsen, which isn't all that bad

  7. This movie is sitting at the bottom of my Netflix queue right now. I guess that's a good place for it.

    1. Yeah Alex, although if you are a fan of Elizabeth Olsen it's worth seeking out just to see her.