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.