Silent House (2012)

I guess the Mary-Kate & Ashley finally got tired of hearing about their much more talented younger sissy.

Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), retreat back to an old family home for renovations before her family sells the house. The windows are boarded up, doors are locked from the inside, the power doesn’t work, the landline service is non-existent, and the wireless signal is terrible. Then she hears noises and everything goes from bad to worse all in a course of 88 minutes.

In all honest, without knocking this film down in any way shape or form, this is essentially a gimmick horror flick just made to be different from what we usually see with this genre. It’s all filmed in one-shot (or so they say) and takes place in real-time. Pretty cool gimmick and one that is pulled off pretty fine if you ask me.

For the first hour or so, this flick had me strapped into it’s creepy and tense atmosphere. Co-directors Laura Lau and Chris Kentis do a great job here of capturing all of horror here in one-shot, following Sarah as she roams around her house as everything gets creepier and creepier around her. It felt like another found-footage horror flick by how close this camera just followed her but it worked in giving us a view that was intimate, up close, and made it even freakier to sit through considering we didn’t know what to expect next. There is definitely plenty of chilling moments that will get you and make you feel on the edge of your seat (I know, it’s a tired statement) but from a technical stand-point, it’s pretty impressive what you can do with one shot the whole time, even though there may be a couple of invisible cuts here and there.

I never saw the original so I went into this flick expecting something new and original and in a way that’s what I got, but in another way, I couldn’t help but think that they just didn’t do their best job with this material. This is a cool combination of both a home invasion and haunted house flick but the difference here is that we have no idea what is in the house, how it’s in the house, and just what it wants to do. This is a pretty good mystery that the film has going on for pretty long and what makes it even better is that it is apparently based on a true story so there was definitely some shock to that.

However, what dropped the ball for me was the explanation for all of the things that happened at end. I don’t want to get into any great detail about the end and I definitely don’t want to spoil things but it was definitely a little bit more obvious than I thought it should have been. There are a couple of subtle hints that made me think of what was going to be the out-come at the end and it was a little dumb to place these in there because as much as I knew something was up, I still knew that this flick was going somewhere with the little hints it kept throwing by us. For some, it may totally surprise but for others, it will just come across as lame but then again, that’s maybe what the original flick had already done in the first place so who am I to blame these directors for that misfortune?

Another problem with this ending isn’t so much of the explanation as much as it is the fact that the film doesn’t really make much sense once you realize what is really happening. There are certain films out there where you get a mind-boggling twist at the end and can go back again to watch it and realize that it all makes sense after the second watch, but this is not that because even though I have not seen it twice, I’m still thinking about it and realizing that it doesn’t make any sense. Once again, I don’t want to spoil anything and get into any details but once that ending comes up it’s just a bummer and seems very unrealistic, even though it was based on true events. I wonder just how true they really were.

At the heart of this flick though, is none other than Elizabeth Olsen, who makes this film and her character better than they had any right to be in the first place. She’s likable, easy on the eyes, and very believable as this girl Sarah. She pulls off every scene she is given here and makes it really easy to be on her side even when she does start to make some shocking questionable choices. Olsen is just a natural with this performance and it’s great to see her go through such range and hopefully she continues to get more and more jucier roles like this and get a whole bunch of people behind her.

Consensus: Silent House may have a big problem with its ending, there is still a creepy, tense, and shaky atmosphere this film gives off with it’s one-shot approach and Elizabeth Olsen is once again great in a role that asks a lot, in which she delivers on.



  1. You’re totally right Dan, even if you accept the twist, it doesn’t make sense if you try to go back through and add it all up.

    I agree with WHY you gave it a 6/10… you’re right 2/3s of this flick was a really good movie. But my anger over the end left me personally bashing it a little harder. I wouldnt wish that stomach punch at the end on anyone. LOL!

    Keep up the good work man!

  2. I was curious about this film and would probably see it only for Elizabeth Olsen. While I didn’t care much for Martha Marcy May Marlene, I was definitely impressed with the range Olsen expressed throughout that film. Silent House looks scary and entertaining enough, but I typically get annoyed when it doesn’t make sense in the end (I’m totally there with you on seeing films a second time and then it all makes sense!). Too bad! I will probably rent this. As always, nice review, Dan!

    • Check it out if you want a good scare here and there, just don’t expect anything amazing or brilliant in any way, shape, or form. Thanks Kristin!

  3. I am also somewhat curious about Elizabeth Olsen’s acting abilities considering her siblings, just not curious enough to pay to watch this in a theater. I think I’d like to see the original “La Casa Muda”, though. 🙂

  4. Good review, Dan. I liked what they did technically, and I thought Olsen was really good, but the ending just ruins the film.

    Apparently the original was set in the 1940’s, which might help with the atmosphere of the film, but I don’t know if the ending was the same. I’m curious to check it out now.

  5. Yeah, the ending didn’t really bother me too much after giving it some thought, though I can definitely say that the ending will pretty much make or break this movie for most people I think. It’s still definitely worth checking out for everything that happens before then, however. Nice review! 🙂

  6. I watched this film over the weekend and I absolutely agree with what you state in your review. There was, like you said, a nice degree of suspense that stemmed from the interesting way in which the film was shot. What I don’t understand is why films feel the need to drop clues along the way so we anticipate the final twist. It’s unnecessary and it takes part of the thrill out of the equation. The twist may not be completely predictable in this case, but not from lack of trying to make it so.

    Good review!

    • There were a couple of hints here and there along the way that made me think about what was going to happen but it was just more the fact that it didn’t work at all. Thanks!

  7. I my review, I pointed out some of the same things that you did. I also thought it relied too much on the suspenseful elements that they included and it hurt the movie a little.

  8. Yes the third act does either make or break it in people’s eyes, but it was still a ballsy move. Not going to be a classic but the great acting plus the gee whiz technical aspect help make this a better than average horror flick and one worth a look at least.

  9. Even though this movie doesn’t sound very good, I think Elizabeth Olsen has serious promise to be very successful as an actress. I don’t think she’ll let fame get to her as much as her older sisters. I met her once back in college when she was dating one of the guys in my dorm, and she was very down to earth. Probably won’t end up seeing this one since it didn’t look particularly interesting.

  10. How on earth could this be based on “true events”? I’m so exhausted with Hollywood films purporting to be fact-based; it’s insane. Why *not* knock this film down a bit…it’s sickening and the incest theme is exploitative.

  11. I agree that things didn’t make sense after you know what happened. Even with the plot holes, I thought it was pretty good. At least it was different, if you hadn’t watched the original! Plus, I have to say I got really scared.

  12. I have been wanting to see this since I first saw the trailer. I like Elizabeth Olsen very much and think that she’s one of the more talented young actresses out there. Terrific review.

    I’m betting the “true events” are some where along the lines of one similarity. Like The Strangers and The Keddie Cabin murders.

  13. Your review is definitely more in depth than mine! I had no idea that it was filmed one-shot that is amazing and definitely should count for something. Now that I let the film settle in, I am warming up to it. I will probably purchase it in the future! A great film for a rainy day, but lacking in the horror department.

  14. This review gives me a little more hope! I’ve read such awful things about how the ending just completely takes away how excellent any of the earlier part of the film was.

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