Silent House is a film that teeters on greatness, which results in a dream review focusing on the small cons and pros that made it good, but not great. So many times we watch a horror movie that fits the mold and leaves us disappointed, but with this film, there are so many good and unique things to talk about. The film begins with a young adult named Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) helping her father and uncle fix up a beautiful Victorian house, which they plan on selling. Soon enough (although some may think too long), Sarah begins to hear thuds, clanks, and clinks throughout the house. The viewer is in store for a walk through horror fest that spans the whole house and some of the outside.
So what about this movie makes it worth watching? The number one reason is the character of Sarah, played by Elizabeth Olsen. If I was a director and had to pick an actress to star in my horror movie, I have no doubt she would be one of my top picks. The viewer is glued to her face the entire movie due to the running camera shots that make it feel like you are literally running with her. Luckily this doesn’t annoy the viewer, due to the fact that Olsen’s acting ability is suburb and you feel every little scare right along with her. This movie was so close to becoming cliché, but it just broke away from that. One reason for this was the use of more realistic delusions rather than ghostly ones. In an old decrepit house, viewers are expecting ghosts around every corner. Instead, the directors (Chris Kentis and Laura Lau) chose to have viewers question whether it is ghosts afoot or real squatters that are attempting to kill Sarah. The delusions that Sarah has also escalate as the seriousness of the situation builds up. In the beginning, it is simple sounds, but by the end it is toilets upside down.
So what about this movie just isn’t good enough? Sadly, for such an eloquent movie that has a nice flow, the ending seemed great, but overdone. The viewer is taken on many different paths to the ending of the film, which in combination just seem to water down the effect that the ending has. Frost may have said to take the path less traveled, but sometimes it’s nice to not have to decide which path to take. For such a great movie that has the viewer running along with Sarah, it would have been nice to not have to juggle all the running around with all of the different scenarios that are going on. I repeat, I found the ending to be great, but I just wish the execution of the ending was a bit more streamlined so it didn’t seem like the directors were trying so hard. Also, while there were some great artistic moments (i.e. using the camera to see in the dark), there were also a lot of generic scares splattered throughout the movie. Sometimes it felt like scream, hide, pant pant, scream, hide, pant pant. This created a bit of annoyance, but luckily the artistic scares that were in the movie helped to keep me attuned to what was going on.
Did anyone besides Elizabeth Olsen act well? That is a question up for discussion. The father, John (Adam Trese) and the uncle, Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) play their parts well enough, but seemed to tip their hand early on in the film. This isn’t a movie that is hard to predict, but it is still an enjoyable enough ride to make it worth watching. Horror island is receiving a serial killer that kills not out of complete malevolence, but out of the own horror this individual went through long ago. This person will trigger a lot of sympathy not only in the viewer, but also in the worst individuals on horror island. If you really think about it, what’s more dangerous than a person that can pull on your heartstrings and cut them all at the same time?
If you liked Silent House, you might also like Santa Sangre and A Tale of Two Sisters.