The Silent House

Critics Consensus

Shot in a single take, The Silent House may be a gimmick movie, but it's one that's enough to sustain dread and tension throughout.



Total Count: 28


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,251
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Movie Info

Laura and her father Wilson settle down in an old farmhouse to make some repairs and update it prior to its sale. But after they spend the night there, things start to get strange. Laura hears a sound that gets louder and louder on the upper floor of the house. Wilson goes up to see what is going on while she remains downstairs, waiting for her father's return.


Critic Reviews for The Silent House

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (9)

  • Reminiscent of the breathless right-behind-you tension of Ils (Them), full of playful reveals and made all the eerier by Hernán González's classically ominous score.

    May 9, 2011 | Full Review…

    William Goss
    Top Critic
  • [An] occasionally jolting but largely unconvincing Uruguayan horror flick...

    Apr 10, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Top Critic
  • The chief wonder of this horror, directed by Gustavo Hernández, is that it was filmed with a digital camera in one single shot.

    Apr 8, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
  • There's no doubt about it: this is a smart, scary film and a technical tour de force with its own skin-crawling atmosphere of fear.

    Apr 7, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A flawed but fascinating experiment.

    Apr 7, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Cranks up the tension with fluid, choreographed camera moves and unnerving off-screen sounds.

    Apr 6, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Silent House

  • Jun 26, 2013
    Questionable and not frightening in the least bit, "The Silent House" and director Gustavo Hernandez drop the ball with this lacking, wannabe thriller. Most of the time, when venturing back to see the original film that inspired the American remake, you find that it is far superior, but in this case, the American version is without a doubt more creepy and more spine-tingling than this unique, but wasted concept of the one long-take horror film. Florencia Colucci and the direction she is given is delivered at a snails pace and eventually lands on the scale of watching paint dry. There is no motivation and her emotions are all over the place, unbalanced, and unwarranted. The after credits sequence adds nothing to the film, and even at 79 minutes this film feels far too long. Never would I have guessed that the remake would be better, but upon a second viewing of the remake, I will certainly confirm this. Score one for America.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 31, 2012
    Brilliantly filmed and edited, with one or two decent scares. But the weak script lets it down, meaning that watching this film is a largely dull experience.
    Graham W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 22, 2012
    ** out of **** The definition of "horror" states that - in the context of cinema - for a film to qualify as a successful entry into this genre, it must unnerve and elicit both negative and positive (but mostly negative) emotions from the viewing audience. If this is true, then "The Silent House" is half a horror movie; momentarily, it scares and keeps the viewer on edge, waiting for whatever has the potential to inevitably happen to happen, but when regarding those emotions, I can't say it left me with too many positive ones. My theory is that no matter how violent or depressing the movie, one can derive happy thoughts from the experience so long as they find it thought-provoking. I say this because in all honesty, it feels pretty darn good to think; so long as all that thinking gets you somewhere, to a conclusion, perhaps. In the beginning, I wasn't sure what to think; in the middle, I was experiencing some of those "positive emotions"; and by the end, I was left with nothing but dark, cold, bitter cynicism. My problem was this: the film has basically used a gimmick (it was supposedly shot in one continuous take, and it runs about 80 minutes in length) to hold my attention for the time that it demanded, instead of using an absorbing story and characters to draw me in. I'll admit that it's seldom boring, and it intrigued me from beginning to end (although that's precisely where I draw the line); but in trying to make the film as creepy and tense as possible, director Gustavo Hernandez also forget some key ingredients. "The Silent House" could have been such an effective little chiller - and for extended but underwhelming periods of time it kind of is - had it avoided the obstacles that were involved in its making. It almost feels as if there was no written screenplay, and that the ambition alone was supposed to carry the film. The filmmakers should not have so arrogantly assumed such a thing. The premise is incredibly simple. Laura (Florencia Colucci) and her father Wilson (Gustavo Olonso) make way by foot to an old cottage that lies on secluded ground. They intend to fix it up within the next few days for a friend of dad, who intends to sell the house soon after they finish the job. The two get to the estate a little too late for their liking, and Wilson says they'll start up in the morning. However, they must set up camp downstairs for the time being, since the upstairs is deemed "unsafe" and "unstable". And so they settle down on the various chairs, with the blankets that have been provided, and they try to get some shut-eye. But a loud noise disturbs Laura, prompting her to ask Wilson to go check it out. Of course, it's coming from upstairs; and of course, that's just where Wilson goes. When yet another noise is heard and father does not return, Laura goes looking for him and gets way more than she bargained for. Most of the film is devoted to Laura looking around in the dark, dark house with a particularly illuminating lamp and a scythe in hand. Something must have made that noise, and clearly it's looking to get nasty; Wilson is found dead and bleeding in no time, and we see apparitions (unseen to Laura) that could very well be his killer(s). It remains intriguing and engaging for a while, but soon gets repetitive and rather pointless. Certain scenes, such as the one where Laura happens upon strange paintings of people with literally "blank expressions", give the film some steam; but it fails to catch fire. The film is an outstanding technical achievement for Hernandez and his team. The production was completed in four days, and while that makes me somewhat doubt the authenticity of the single-take claims that alone sell the film, it can still be considered a mastery of cinematic technology. It certainly had me fooled, even if it was nothing more than a gimmick. The cinematography is also gorgeous, particularly when Laura's lamp lights the way. Such a light gives off an image that lends the film a certain quality; it's almost surreal and otherworldly. I just wish such things had been put to better use, or perhaps in a better film. They might have worked exceptionally well had the film been one of paranormal and ghostly qualities, but the twist ending reveals a true intent that is anything but from beyond the grave. Maybe if this had been a ghost story in the end, I would have enjoyed it more. All-in-all, I did enjoy a good portion of it anyways; but the twist ruined the entire experience and made me feel as if I had just wasted my time. Nevertheless, it's still worth seeing if you're as big a horror fan as I am. There are some aspects worth looking into here, although I'm afraid all goodness is drowned out by the bad and the sadly mediocre stuff that comes in between. There are genuine moments of suspense, some cleverly placed jump scares, and the visual atmosphere is gold; but as I said, there are some great materials and resources here that simply belong in a film of different qualities and themes. It doesn't help that the story is weak, the characters grossly under-developed (although the twist is supposed to sort of rectify that), and the pacing unfortunately uneven. I love a good, suspenseful horror film, but this isn't one. By the halfway point, I was hoping that it would silence itself before I would be provoked to silence it, by turning off the DVD Player.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2012
    Very well made as a single long take, it impresses for the elegance and technique employed, but the script is just awful, with stupid characters, over-calculated chills (always forewarned by an intrusive score) and a ridiculous, illogical ending.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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