Silent House (2012)

Ostensibly executed in one long, unblinking take (though you can tell the edit points; the directors admit they filmed it in 10-minute chunks), Silent House is a visceral experience in spookiness, tethered to the brilliant actress Elizabeth Olsen that unfolds in real time. It’s your standard scary house movie, lots of dark rooms and pitiful hiding under furniture; it begins as an intruder(s) stalking Olsen from room to room and then, in the final 20 minutes, transforms into a psychological thriller, with the realm between reality and hallucination blending. The bare-bones plot (girl chased through house) cranks out some decent scares due to directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (Open Water)’s tightly executed sense of reality, leaving us feeling as trapped and helpless as our heroine. The movie’s minor successes are also squarely due to Olsen, she of glassy eyes and hoarse scream. It’s almost a one-woman show and Olsen is so convincing in her terror, completely unnerving even when the movie is not. The climax is a bit of a letdown, to say the least, and leaves a lot of off-putting questions that cannot be answered by the movie’s absence of back-story. I won’t say the ending ruins the entire suspenseful experience of Silent House, but it’s certainly going to spur plenty of grumbling. Still, Olsen is a star and gives a terrific freaked-out performance worth getting spooked over. Also it’s based on a 2010 Uruguay movie with the same high-concept gimmick. Now you know Uruguay has a film industry. Don’t you feel better?

Nate’s Grade: B-

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About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on March 16, 2012, in 2012 Movies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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