Silent House (2011)
Director: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Open Road Films/Universal Pictures
Synopsis: Spend 87 minutes in real time with a woman trapped inside a house with an unknown intruder.
Overview: The film is the North American remake of the Uruguay film La casa muda (which I was not aware of prior to seeing this film). Normally, horror movies don’t appeal to me, but this one was pretty fun and nerve-racking to watch.
I found the technical aspect of the film to be impressive. It’s 87 minutes long and appears to be shot in one single-take (it’s not, there are hidden edits), and by doing so, I feel it captures the urgency and cautious nature of horror video games. It was really scary and tense at times. Elizabeth Olsen’s character goes through these certain situations, and the way it’s shot and how it follows her is designed to make the viewer feel like they’re right there with her, and it absolutely succeeds. It most certainly does it better than any of the most recent found footage movies.
I watched this film as part of my Elizabeth Olsen marathon (because why not?), and although she’s not as good as she was in Martha Marcy May Marlene, she carries over the best qualities of her performance in that film. Here, as Sarah, she comes off as mysterious, and she pulls off everything the film’s screenwriters wrote for her, whether frightened or empowered. However, her best attribute is that she doesn’t overact once in this film. There’s some subtle facial expressions here and there, and when she gets terrified, it’s genuine. The terror could be felt, and in turn, it makes the movie a whole lot scarier.
There’s also a mystery surrounding her Sarah and the whole narrative she finds herself in. It’s not just a random ‘slasher’ movie. The film drops very small hints and clues delivered over the course of the story, stuff that may go over people’s heads, but once the film unravels it, it all makes sense. I liked that there was an uncertainty looming over the story, because it gave me something to think about instead of just being on my toes for jump scares (which are scarce in this movie). That being said, the journey is better than the destination as the twist isn’t really all that great. But overall, Silent House is a very fun, nerve-racking horror film to watch alone at 2:30 in the morning.