I had such high hopes for Silent House. While it was a typical suspense film, I liked the premise of this new “single take” feel. Kind of like a found footage movie, but with a unique twist.
I had gone into it with the thought that it was a paranormal film. I don’t know why, but I was corrected shortly into it.
The premise of Silent House is interesting, though poorly executed and pretty transparent. The entire film (albeit short) wants you to focus on the man that’s come into the house to torment this family. They want you to focus on what’s happening on screen, while they clearly spent most of their time trying to film the entire thing in a way that made it seem like one continuous take. (I read afterwards that they filmed in ten minute segments and then cleverly spliced together.)
I had the entire plot figured out pretty quickly. I won’t flatter myself and say that I knew what was happening right away, but it wasn’t too far into the movie before I figured out the backstory. Towards then end there’s a “twist”, but for any skeptical moviegoer, it’s not that big of a surprise. I didn’t completely see what the twist was, but I knew there was one that was coming.
It’s a relatively dark film, mood wise not just visually. It deals with some pretty deep things in a way that I don’t necessarily agree with.
Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister to the famous Olsen twins) was pretty good in her first leading role. I was a bit surprised by how genuinely frightened she seemed in many of the scenes. Perhaps some clever film making behind the scenes lead to her actually being scared, who knows.
Unfortunately, the film didn’t really do it for me. I went in wanting to be scared. I wanted to jump and yell and be afraid of every time she walked around the corner. But I wasn’t. There were only one or two times where I asked myself “Did that just happen?” as the majority of the scary parts were just “oh, there’s a guy standing way in the back of that room, and you can make out his silhouette” and the like.
The “twist” at the end (that again, I saw coming) was what I like to refer to as a cheap movie ending. They try to convince you that all of the things you’ve been seeing for the last hour and a half actually played out differently than they had. Which doesn’t line up if you go back and think through the various bits and pieces. Similar to The Sixth Sense (I hate to make that comparison when talking about a twist ending, but it sets the precedent), when you look back after knowing the ending, it makes sense. He really didn’t talk to anyone but the kid. He really is dead, etc. Silent House wants you to believe much the same, but you can’t. You can’t buy into what they’re selling as the ending, because you saw what you saw. They want you to believe that what you saw wasn’t real, that it was imagined, but it’s not. It’s real, and you did see it.
My guess is that they needed a way to wrap up the movie, and went for the easiest way out. Or that the original ending was much more gruesome, and it didn’t test well.
In summation, I didn’t care at all for this movie, and am glad I didn’t spend any money to see it. Even if you’re a big horror movie fan, you can skip this one as it’s not really worth a whole lot of your time – despite how short it is.
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