Movie Review: Silent House

PrintE-mail Written by Whitney Scott Bain

Review: Silent House (TBC) / Director: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau / Screenplay: Laura Lau / Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens / Release date: May 4th

Reminiscent of Alexandre Aja's 2003 movie, High Tension, Silent House is based upon Gustavo Hernadez's, 1940s period piece from Uruguay La Casa Muda (2010) and is filmed in the same 'continuous take' style Alfred Hitchcock used in Rope (1948). 

The story concerns two brothers John and Peter (Adam Trese and Sheffer Stevens) and their niece Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen; younger sibling of the Olsen twins Mary Kate and Ashley) preparing to close down a beach house that was once owned by their family.

When Sarah's childhood friend shows up on the porch, she doesn't recognise her at first, but slowly her memory begins to recall her, with her friend giving her a cryptic message... "How could you forget me?"

When Peter heads into town to get supplies, Sarah is left alone with her father John, who is wounded by an unknown intruder in the house. After eluding this mysterious stranger, she soon discovers her father's body has vanished, but the stranger is still there looking for her.

As the film progresses, the question starts to arise whether these events are in fact reality, or is Sarah delusional?

Director Chris Kentis and writer/producer Laura Lau's Open Water was a tense, innovative film and they do their best to recapture the magic in this movie. Sadly, it backfires as we've simply seen it all before, replicating elements from Wait Until Dark and Roman Polanski's Repulsion for shock value and scare tactics. The script is weak and the characters are in desperate need of being fleshed out.

There's also far too much shaky cam as well. Okay, it's one take and we understand the need for the handheld approach, but a little more steadiness would keep the audience invested in the story the filmmakers are trying to tell instead of them feeling like they're a passenger on the Costa Concordia.

Performance wise Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer Stevens are adequate in their roles, but it's Elizabeth Olsen that's the real stand out - without a doubt we'll be seeing her do great work in the future (though her crying scenes are an odd cross between laughing and hiccuping that could be either cute or annoying depending on your taste).

Silent House starts strong, with an intriguing first half that's peppered with a few scares, but in the third act the movie falls apart once you learn what's 'behind the curtain', delivering a disappointing, predictable ending.

Expected rating: 6 out of 10

Actual rating: 

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