Sunday, October 4, 2015

Movie Review: "Silent House" (2011)

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Movie"Silent House"
Director: Chris Kentis & Laura Lau
Year: 2011
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

A young woman named Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) goes to her family's summer home to help her father John (Adam Trese) and her uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) renovate the house to get it ready to sell. While cleaning up her childhood room, a home invader seemingly breaks into the house, attacks her father and locks her inside. As Sarah starts to see strange things, it's apparent that this may not be just any ordinary attacker, but a demon from their past. 

Real fear? Not quite.

This film is a dark horror thriller that is heavy on tension at certain times, but little else. "Silent House" had a lot of potential to be something really and truly creepy because it is shot and edited in such a way that makes it looks like it is one long, continuous shot. We enjoy this about the film, but in the end, it's nothing more than just a gimmick because the style isn't backed up by much substance. The tension is built because of this gimmicky way of shooting, but it can also go from being frantic and frenzied, to dull, slow and boring with lots of shots of feet, walking through hallways, and moving boxes. Admit it: following the main character up and down stairs, in and out of rooms, under tables and under beds as she tries not to scream would make anyone nod off after a while. It causes the film to drag and it gets utterly tiresome and repetitive after about 20 minutes, though we will say this style of shooting manages to set a good mood featuring an overall nervous atmosphere. Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Sarah, does a fine job in the film and clearly has talent, at least far more talent than anyone else in this film, and she has clearly moved on to bigger, better roles because of this talent. We as audience members are often scared for Sarah, and Olsen conducts herself in such a way that sells this fear to us well, despite her character making cliche horror mistakes every chance she gets. Adam Trese, on the other hand, the actor who plays Sarah's father, is as wooden as a tree and delivers his lines with the passion of Ben Stein on Valium. It's such a stark difference. Even though the movie is just mediocre, Olsen performs her role like she's gunning for an Oscar, and Trese acts like he just rolled out of bed and barely had time to prep his lines before the shoot. The only other actors with any notable amount of screen time are Eric Shaffer Stevens, who plays Sarah's Uncle Peter, who we think is a creep from the second he shows up on screen, and Julia Taylor Ross, who plays Sarah's childhood friend Sophia, who so rarely pops up, it's a shock to see her reemerge in the latter portion of the movie. Each performer is passable in their parts, but neither have much that stands out about them other than said underlying creepiness. We do like where the story leads eventually, as well as the twists and turns it takes, though we had a pretty good idea they are coming. As we mentioned before, "Silent House" has a cool idea behind it in regards to its one long shot, but unfortunately, there isn't enough depth or scares in this film to carry it the whole time. In an attempt to set themselves apart from the crowd by using this unique style of shooting, though sometimes effective, it winds up looking more like an episode of "Cops" instead of the horror movie it should be. 

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 41%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
Two years ago, we were watching"The Lair of the White Worm"

One year ago, we were watching: "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers"


  1. I watched this movie last year. It was a little slow moving. I kind of forget what happened towards the end. Maybe I will watch it again.

    1. It is pretty slow from time to time, and it's especially bad when it's slow during a frenetic moment of running. Yikes!