Cinema Review: Silent House

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DIR: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau • WRI: Laura Lau • PRO: Laura Lau, Agnès Mentre • DOP: Igor Martinovic • ED: Scott Gray • DES: Roshelle Berliner • Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Julia Taylor Ross

Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), her dad John (Adam Trese) and her uncle Peter (Eric Stevens) are renovating their old, run-down country house before selling it on. As with all situations where characters find themselves in the middle of nowhere, there are no nearby neighbours, there is no phone signal, and pretty soon Sarah starts hearing noises within the house…

A remake of the 2010 Uruguayan film of the same name, the film is presented as a single take, one continuous 85-minute shot. While initially it does seem like a good way to build tension, whenever a scary scene is about to take place the camera flips out, panning and zooming all over the place, replacing fear with confusion. There are some good moments of fear scattered throughout, but they all play out exactly the same way, with Olsen holding her hand over her mouth to stifle her laboured breathing, and then when she thinks the threat is gone, she goes to leave her hiding place only to discover the threat is still there and she runs off screaming. After this happens the third or fourth time, it stops being scary and almost becomes laughable.

Olsen is still really good in the lead role, and Trese and Stevens are both perfectly fine in their underwritten, barely-there parts. The plot seems to be both meandering and almost non-existent, and the ending is a poorly handled version of a ‘twist’ you’ve seen in countless other, better horror movies. In the end, this was an interesting cinematic exercise tacked on to a Xeroxed script. Disappointing.

Rory Cashin

Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
Silent House is released on 30th March 2012

Silent House – Official Website

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