Search

Review: Silent House

08:39 11 May 2012

Silent House

Silent House

Archant

Handheld shaky cam has been the prevailing horror film gimmick for well over a decade. Silent House twists the gimmick with the pretence that its entire running length is a single continuous take.

It isn’t and to be honest the pretence isn’t particularly convincing, but the effect is still impressive.

The film is a swift piece of de-subtitling, a remake of the Uruguayan original La Casa Muda.

After making Open Water, the film about the scuba diving couple left stranded in shark-infested water, Chris Kentis and Laura Lau have spent a decade failing to get projects made before being offered this.

It’s a basic creaky old dark house scenario. Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is helping her father (Adam Trese) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) do up the lakeside cottage where she spent many summer holidays as a child, prior to it being sold. One afternoon when she finds herself alone she becomes aware of another presence in the boarded up house.

The scares are standard – inexplicable noises, sudden bangs, fleetingly seen figures – but delivered with considerable intensity.

The early lull period, the opening scenes of normality before the menace descends, are particularly well done. The imperceptible shift from safety to peril is unusually convincing and it is especially disturbing that while she is running in terror through a dark house illuminated by various strategically place light sources, on the other side of the shuttered doors it is daylight.

Olsen was very impressive in Martha Marcy May Marlene and you can see the appeal of this role; she’s on screen throughout and she is just as good in this.

Shooting in a continuous take creates a sense of double jeopardy. Normally in these films either the camera has been assigned a personality, another character that is in danger, or it is an impersonal, uninvolved observer.

Here though it sticks to its mistress with the dogged determination of a pet but without ever really defining its stake in events.

Sometimes it seems to share her jeopardy, sometimes it seems at a remove from it or even perhaps to have a hand in it.

Of course the nature of the film means a lot depends on the big final reveal. The film keeps its secret right to the very end and when it came it struck me as novel and satisfying. I should concede though that it and the film seem to provoke wild hostility in most horror fans.

SILENT HOUSE (15)

Directors: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer Stevens

Length: 85 mins

***

0 comments

Other Thetford and Brandon events

Friday, August 19, 2016
EPU THETFORD FESTIVAL folk in the garden

A two-week extravaganza of art, dance, music, history and more is getting under way tonight at Thetford’s Great Festival.

Thursday, August 11, 2016
Childhood memories of summer in Norfolk: Riding the snails at Joyland, visiting Pettitts Animal Adventure Park and crabbing in North Norfolk.

Do you remember doing these 15 things when you were younger? Share your favourite memories in the comments below.

Monday, August 8, 2016
The winners of the 2015 Norfolk Arts Awards at The Maddermarket Theatre. The 2016 Norfolk Arts Awards will be held at Norwich Cathedral's Hostry on October 21. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Shining stars of Norfolk’s cultural scene are to be honoured in the fifth Norfolk Arts Awards.

Friday, August 5, 2016
Fireworks will light up Ipswich Waterfront this weekend. Photo: Jen O'Neill

From waterfront celebrations to a good weekend to be called Norman and classic cars to a tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice, there’s plenty to enjoy this weekend.

Most Read

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 12°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Thetford and Brandon e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up