Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Horror, Suspense
Run Time: 1 hour 26 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens
Directed by Chris Kentis (Open Water) and Laura Lau (feature film debut)
In honor of Silent House, a horror movie that is supposedly filmed as 1 continuous 86 minute shot, I was going to offer up my review as one long run-on sentence. But that would be a gimmick.
That is all that Silent House is, one long, befuddling gimmick. Elizabeth Olsen, who was terrific in last year’s Martha Marcy May Marlene is the star of this throw-away horror flick. She has one role to play in this one: Be scared, and stay scared.
Based on a 2010 foreign film of the same name, Olsen plays Sarah, who arrives at her father’s old lakeside retreat along with her uncle, to help renovate the family home to prepare it for sale. The house conveniently has no utilities, no electricity, and several locked doors and windows. She becomes separated from her family and trapped inside the house, as a series of bad things begin to happen.
It is perhaps unfair to judge a horror movie on anything other than its ability to generate true scares. In Silent House, there are surprisingly few. Most of the movie consists of extreme close-ups of Olsen’s face as she gasps in horror at what may be lurking around the corner. Often times, it is nothing at all.
There is one effective scene in the entire film, a sequence where the lights are out and Sarah must flash a Polaroid camera every few seconds to get a bearing on her surroundings. Although the sequence is cool, film buffs will notice several opportunities for a cut within the black, as well as many other iffy transitions. If the movie isn’t really all just one continuous shot, than what lasting value does it have at all? The entire film screams gimmick.
By the time you arrive at the sloppy and crazily absurd conclusion, you have long lost any care in the world regarding Sarah’s fate. I mean, at one point, she did manage to escape the house, but then runs right back through the doors so that the movie can continue.
Fans of horror won’t find anything new or exciting within the walls of Silent House, and the one-shot gimmick does nothing to add to the storytelling or the suspense. With so many other options at the movie theaters this weekend, I would be surprised if Silent House makes even a peep at the box office.
Opens locally Friday, March 9th, 2012
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