Silent House (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner04/05/2012

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Silent House is creepy and claustrophobic and features a strong performance from Elizabeth Olsen, but it fails to improve on the original film thanks to a poorly paced middle section and an annoying tendency towards over-explaining things.

What's it all about?
Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (Open Water), Silent House is a remake of 2010's Uruguayan thriller The Silent House (La Casa Muda). Elizabeth Olsen stars as Sarah, a teenager who agrees to help her father John (Adam Trese) and her uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) renovate their dilapidated, family owned lake house. Unfortunately, the electricity is out and the windows are all blacked out, so they have to carry out their work by torch-light. However, while Peter is out getting supplies, John suddenly disappears and Sarah becomes increasingly terrified, hearing strange noises, glimpsing shadowy figures and finding the door mysteriously locked. But what is really going on?

The Good
Silent House retains the original film's central gimmick of being apparently filmed in one continuous take, although, as with the 2010 film, it's easy enough to tell where the joins are. The effect of this is that we experience Sarah's ordeal in real time, which, in theory, at least, allows for a steady build-up of suspense. Similarly, Olsen is extremely good as Sarah and the constant near darkness and continual close-ups of her increasingly terrified face are effectively creepy and atmospheric.

The Bad
The main problem is that the remake doesn't quite manage to deliver the same thrills as the original film. For one thing, the middle section of the film slows to a crawl, with precious little in the way of actual scares and it is often difficult to tell what's going on.

Similarly, they might as well have called this The Silent House for Idiots, because the script feels compelled to explain what's going on, rather than leave room for ambiguity. Ultimately, this backfires severely, as it leaves the audience feeling justifiably cheated.

Worth seeing?
Given that the original film had minimal dialogue, this is a largely pointless remake, though it's just about worth seeing for Olsen's study in terror.

Film Trailer

Silent House (15)
Be the first to review Silent House...
image
01 Sabotage (tbc)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence H...

image
02 Paddington (tbc)

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins

image
03 The Maze Runner (tbc)

Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter

image
04 Blue Ruin (tbc)

Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves

image
05 The Fault in all Our Stars (tbc)

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe

Content updated: 24/04/2014 00:11

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

We Are the Best!

Delightful, uplifting Swedish comedy that marks a long-awaited return to form of the likes of Show Me Love and Together for writer-director Lukas Moodysson.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films