Norwich Ice Rink Coming Soon. Click here to find out more!

Click here

Review: Silent House

08:39 11 May 2012

Silent House

Silent House


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.


Directors: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer Stevens

Length: 85 mins



Other Thetford and Brandon events

Yesterday, 10:48
Franko Fraize at Sundown. Pic: Lee Blanchflower.

Thetford musician Franko Fraize has released the video to his latest single.

Wed, 14:50
Reading champion Philip Daws, who has 'influenced the reading habits of a generation', at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds earlier this year with Louisa Ungureanu

A man once sworn at by Brian Clough is a Children’s Short Story Competition judge!

Mon, 12:26
Caroline Flack. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

X Factor presenter Caroline Flack has hit back at “vile comments” about her appearance which were posted online.

Mon, 06:30
Panto at Great Yarmouth    taken 9th December 1967.

Norfolk’s love of pantomimes runs so deep that they continued to be performed throughout the First and Second World Wars.

Most Read

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 3°C

Digital Edition

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