31 Days of Reviews: Silent House (2011)

Sarah is renovating a dilapidated Victorian home with her father and uncle. Without power and cell service, she soon finds herself separated from her family and trapped in the house as it becomes more apparent that there may be a stranger there with her.

I will be honest here. This isn’t the first time I’ve watched Silent House. Well, this isn’t the first time I’ve attempted it at least. Back in 2012, I tried watching this movie, but I didn’t make it past the first 20 minutes. I got turned off from it very quickly. For the last 5 years, I’ve been telling myself that I needed to give it another shot.

Silent House is an American remake of an Uruguayan film named La Casa Muda (The Silent House). It is directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, who are known for directing Open Water. It stars Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron) in one of her first roles as an adult. It also features Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens (Julie & Julia), and Julia Taylor Ross.

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 12.21.15 AM

What makes Silent House stand out amongst its competition is its style. First off, it’s similar, yet different, to the found footage style of filmmaking. It’s similar in that the camera moves consistently throughout as if its a character, and it’s shaky. It’s different in that despite all of this, it’s still a third person narrative. We just happen to be following the main character through her every move.

Secondly, this film is unique in that it appears to be a single continuous shot. Of course, the entire film isn’t actually one continuous shot. There are some very well concealed edits in there somewhere, but the takes had to be well thought out and choreographed for everything to work out. This film seems to do that with ease.

I’m glad that I went back to give Silent House another shot. All those years ago, the style of this film turned me off. Going back to it today, I’m able to appreciate it for the artistic feat that it is. I hear that audiences didn’t like this one when it came out, and seeing how I reacted to it back then, I can understand that.

I still feel that the ending of this movie is odd. The reveal is confusing. If we followed the main character’s every move throughout this entire movie, there can’t possibly be this many things that get pulled out of the woodwork in the end. It’s too convenient. It’s far too convenient, heading into the direction of disappointment.

Elizabeth Olsen is a gem, as I often think she is. Following her through this story, she conveys paranoia and panic very well. Her face says it all. I find her very easy to connect with. She’s one of my favorite actresses at the moment, and I love seeing her progress. It’s hard to believe that this was one of her early roles, right after Martha Marcy May Marlene and before Godzilla, Oldboy or her role as Scarlet Witch. She’s come a long way, and I hope she continues on this path.

Overall, Silent House doesn’t have the best story, but it is a technical and artistic feat, and I can appreciate it for that.

(FYI this trailer is awful and doesn’t fit the tone of the actual film)

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