Exhausting all their resources in Japanese horror films to remake, film makers have moved onto South America to find the new inspirations for horror films. Based on a movie out of Uruguay, Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (directors of the indie smash, Open Water) stuck with the original premise of a horror film meant to look like it was done in all one shot, for Silent House. That’s all well and good, but they forgot the most important thing, to scare me.
Sarah is back at her family’s lake house with her father and uncle. The house has been rented out to other families over the years, but mainly it remained unoccupied and vandalized by local hoodlums. The three are there to clean it out, fix it up, and ready it for sale. Luckily, (for anyone wanting to make a horror film) all the electric is out and there is no cell signal for the area, perfect. When Uncle Peter has to step out for some supplies, someone seemingly enters the house and attacks Sarah’s father and then searchers for her. Who could this man be? Is there more than one of person? Is it a supernatural presence or just a crazy bum? Oh no, who is that little girl that keeps showing up and where did all these empty bottles come from?
What would have been impressive, is if this was done in all one shot. You can see where there are/can be hidden cuts and the actors having plenty of time off camera to gather themselves. Non-the-less, it’s still pretty impressive. Sure, Kentis and Lau try to show off a little, framing a lot of shots with mirror images where they can easily be seen if not careful, but why not? If you are going to be this daring, you have the right to show off.
It must have been massively difficult for Elizabeth Olsen to stay in such a frantically unstable state for such long takes; you have to hand it to her, no matter what your final thoughts are on the film. The same can’t be said for her co-stars though. The gentleman playing her father and uncle are just so out of place, it may be the scariest thing about the movie. Aside from the fact they look more like peers than adults, their acting is just flaccid and pathetic.
When I sit and think about the opening of the film once it’s all over, I have to applaud what they did. This however does not change the fact the story is more transparent than a window to a bird. Boringly predictable, I spent the entire film slumped to my side with my cheek in hand waiting for anything to actually scare me. Even when some of the imagery was slightly creepy, it’s all presented in a cut and paste fashion from tons of films before it. If you’re at all familiar with horror films that are meant to make you jump in your seat, than take a nap instead of seeing this film.
The aesthetic is interesting, but it feels like too much time was put into mapping it out than actually portraying anything engaging, story wise. It’s more like a simple and familiar story was chosen, just so everyone could focus on the delivery. The one shot idea is a bold move, but I’m looking for substance, not cool tricks.
Rating: 2 out of 5 ‘Staches