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| Wednesday, July 30, 2014



Movie Review: Silent House


Grade: C





There is someone else in the house.

It’s the thought portrayed in almost every horror/thriller movie that keeps hundreds up at night, clinging to their bed sheets listening for the slightest creak in their hardwood floors. It’s the fear of the unknown and the fear that the unknown could be right outside the door.

This is the premise behind “Silent House,” an unnerving horror/thriller film. From the husband-and-wife directing team of Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, “Silent House” is a remake of the Uraguayan Spanish-language film “La Casa Muda.”

“Silent House” stars Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) as Sarah, a girl renovating her childhood lake house with her father, John (Adam Trese, “40 Days and 40 Nights”). But when Sarah meets a childhood friend that she has no recollection of, she starts growing suspicious.

To add to her growing paranoia, Sarah’s uncle, played by Eric Sheffer Stevens (“Julie & Julia”), starts to tell her stories describing the vandalism and drifters that have frequented their abandoned lake house.

When Sarah hears something upstairs, the plot takes a turn for the worse. The discovery of someone in the lake house turns the film into an obvious plot line where Sarah is shown in what seems like a perpetual state of running and hiding.

After Sarah finds her father injured by this unknown man, she begins to realize she is alone and trapped in a house with no cell phone reception or electricity (convenient, right?).

The interesting aspect of this film comes not from the plot but from the cinematography. “Silent House” was filmed on a 5D Mark II digital camera in one continuous shot with no cuts from beginning to end. Because of this, Sarah’s race to find a way out of her lake house is shown in real time.

For what “Silent House” lacked in plot, was partially made up for by the casting of Olsen. From her debut in last year’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” Olsen has proven herself to be among the most talented new actresses in the industry. Olsen’s performance in this movie further exemplified her versatility as an actress.

Still, not even Olsen’s talents could make up for poor character development. It isn’t until the end of the movie that the audience learns any detail of Sarah’s life, which leaves viewers without any emotional investment.

At the end of the movie, Kentis and Lau attempt to turn the plot into something the audience would never see coming. Unfortunately, the storyline did not seem to support the plot turn and made the ending of the movie almost too unexpected, leaving the audience confused and underwhelmed.

“Silent House” is the type of horror movie you should leave for a mindless scary movie night. The filming and acting were strong, but unfortunately not strong enough to make up for the nonsensical ending.

kbreitman@theeagleonline.com