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Silent House is more technically proficient and ambitious than most fright-fests, but it also suffers from a disappointing payoff.
All Critics (131)
| Top Critics (33)
| Fresh (55)
| Rotten (76)
| DVD (2)
It's still atmospheric enough, and like the original, has a quasi-theatrical event status. But it feels like a copy.
Filmmakers Chris Kentis and Laura Lau ('Open Water') should have plugged the original's plot holes and straightened out its logic.
The camera's unblinking eye constantly stays with Olsen, and we feel in as much danger as she is.
It's Olsen's performance that makes Sarah's plight matter. And the actress proves that her mesmerizing turn in last fall's Martha Marcy May Marlene -- about a woman on the lam from a cult -- wasn't a fluke.
[Olsen is] terrific at showing shifts of emotion just underneath the skin of her wide, china-doll face.
Paranormal Activity has been here before, of course, but Silent House springs tangy new tricks, and Olsen is a primo scream queen.
To explain what goes wrong cinematically would involve spoilers, but suffice to say, at least in this version, the finale not only doesn't work, it diminishes the effect of what precedes it.
Olsen's performance is a worthy draw, yet even despite her best efforts, Silent House remains an intangible folly, caught between atmospheric chiller and inconsequential farce.
Silent House is less of a Boo! Monster! type of horror film and more of an intense psychological thriller that genuinely manages to keep you guessing.
As a technical experiment in real time cinema, Silent House is fascinating, but it fails as both an interesting story and a visceral experience.
Although it has plenty of atmosphere and tense moments, Silent House is ultimately lacking in every other department.
Moviegoers looking for a unique horror-thriller experience, who find the "real time" premise intriguing, are likely to enjoy Silent House in spite of its flaws.
Starts off well, then an extremely long middle part which drags on. At this point nearly gave up on it as it's so dark and blocky onscreen (and this is on a Blu Ray copy) and seems to just be non stop close ups of Elizabeth Olsen looking terrified (admittedly effectively). Glad I preserved. I didn't see the twist coming and it really lifted it beyond what I assumed I was watching.
Elizabeth Olson is one of those very likeable young actresses who got her career started in the independent world of film, and is now working her way to the big screen in a huge way, starring in the sequel to the Avengers. In this film however, she seems to be trying very hard to hold her performance together at times, seeing as the film is seamlessly cut to look like it has all been filmed in one take, and as amazing as that is to watch, the substance just really is not there. From a generic script to a generic and dumb plot twist, this film is nothing more than a throwaway that you can either choose to say you enjoyed or hated. The camerawork is definitely something to admire, but the film surrounding it is very very weak. Sadly, "Silent House" is not warranted a recommendation.
"Experience 88 Minutes Of Real Fear Captured In Real Time"
This is just one of those films that I can't really gather my thoughts on. One one hand, I love the idea; on the other hand, the execution isn't great. Silent House has a lot of promise. Elizabeth Olsen does a good job as the girl were following around for 88 minutes. The other actors, not so much. Also, I loved the way the film was shot. We're stuck following a girl around a house that is getting weirder as we go along.
Sarah is helping her father and uncle pack up the old, family lakeside house. When her uncle leaves, only the father and daughter are left in the house. Then weird things begin happening. Sarah thinks she hears something up stairs, father goes to check it all out. Everything is fine. Father goes missing. Daughter is being chased.... Yeah, so it's not very original. I can't honestly sit here and say that this film is anything groundbreaking in the horror genre. Still there's something about it that makes me like it more than I should.
Silent House has received a ton of slack and I can understand that. The film drags and is down right boring at times. At other times, it managed to keep me in suspense when we were going down hallways and through doors. I wouldn't ever label this as a "scary" movie, but it has its moments that were suspenseful.
I won't lie, the film has its share of problems. For one it isn't atmospheric enough, and that's a vitally important element in a movie like this. Still, I really liked Elizabeth Olsen and the way the movie was shot altogether. I'm not sure whether or not I liked the movie as a whole or whether I was just able to put up with it enough. Still, I believe it's better than a lot of modern day horror films. Maybe that isn't saying a whole lot, but I still have some respect for this movie.
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