Silent House - 1 out of 5
I can only assume the "silent" part of Silent House has to do with my complete lack of response to this un-imaginitive American horror remake of a 2010 (yeah, we're remaking movies barely out of their terrible twos) Uruguayan film.
This film is centered (and I literally mean centered but I'll get to that later) on a young girl named Sarah who is out helping her dad and uncle renovate a house. However, Sarah finds out that there may be others in the house and she finds herself terrorized with no option other than hiding under things to help her. Why doesn't she run away, you are hopefully asking yourself. Number 1) this is a horror flick and no character in a horror is smart enough to just run away from the danger and Number 2) the predictable (in many ways) twist ending prevents such an act from occurring.
|Cool...she's whimpering and hiding. Must be from a monster. This movie could be good.|
Since I know all of you religiously read my reviews (and in some small countries, I'm worshiped as a Movie God and Destroyer of Scary Spiders) you know I have a great distaste for American horror films--in fact, even most foreign ones annoy me because they lack the one thing they need to be qualified as a scary movie...actually being scary.
America is the most guilty of churning out scare-less scary movies because all we do is steal from other countries, remake it with minimal effort or build an entire film around a cheap gimmick while forgetting you need to include attention to such details as the script, acting and tone. Amazingly, Silent House is a perfect example of all this as the filmmakers were trying to show how bad a horror film can be.
|Okay...she's hiding again...and whimpering. But there's clearly no monster.|
Something's got to happen soon.
Right off the bat, the fact this film is an American remake has marks against it but it's the gimmick that is forcefully placed within it that kills it with the efficiency of a Samurai warrior with a lightsaber. The film decides to look like it's one continuous shot--think Alfred Hitchock's Rope only as a piece of crap. The edits are cleverly (and by cleverly, I mean kinda obvious) hidden throughout the film. This "unblinking eye" (yet, kinda blinking) is meant to put the viewer into the terror that Sarah is going through but it ends up being a source of amusement as it starts to look like the latest half-assed "found footage" film and a large amount of the camera work looks silly as there is a point where it's clear that the actress who plays Sarah (Dakota Fanning's possible clone without the talent and sister to the Olsen twins; Elizabeth Olsen) makes it painfully obvious at one point she's actually waiting for the cameraman to keep up with her as she enters the house and then, unconvincingly, pretends to struggle with the door (because slamming a door requires some sort of effort) and there's even a point where our cameraman is granted mild The Flash-like speed in order to get ahead of Sarah when running away from danger...and by running away from danger I mean sprinting away from it for a moment before immediately curving right back towards the house. I half expected to hear that silly "fast run" sound effect you hear on True Blood when this part of the film happened. I get it that the director wants you to feel what Sarah is going through as he kept the camera centered on her (see? I told you I would get back to the whole "centered" thing.) but when your actress is lifeless in her representation of fear, what you get is just an hour and a half of watching a girl kinda/sort of whimpering and hiding.
|"Don't worry, Cameraman...let me just mysteriously play with the doorknob so you|
have enough time to get in the house before I slam it close."
This emphasis on the camera and its gimmick takes precedence (not that such a thing is actually a surprise in Hollywood) and the rest of the film suffers. First off, the acting is atrocious!!! How atrocious? Did you not see the three exclamation marks I gave it? Elizabeth Olsen is just bland and, somehow, makes fear and confusion look boring. It's like Kristen Stewart coached her on how to be scared only Olsen took some liberties and replaced the look of "I'm about to vomit" for tears. Then you have Adam Trese as her father and their relationship feels painfully forced and unnatural. It's like they're two aliens disguised as humans trying to pretend they're a family. And don't get me started on Eric Sheffer Stevens (yeah, I never heard of him either) as the creepy uncle.
Since most scary movies are about twists rather than reveals nowadays, Silent House is no exception. The problem here is the twist is predictable and its revelation offers nothing to the horror department because by the time it arrives, the movie has already put you in the real danger of falling asleep on the couch. In fact, this movie is so boring and the acting is so flat that by the time the horrible facts of the film's ending comes into focus, I found myself saying, "meh."
|Is she about to dance? NO! Just more FUCKING hiding!|
Silent House is a prime example of how America doesn't try to scare you with its scary movies. They're far more preoccupied with a gimmick to sell the movie on then telling an actually spine-chilling story and having talented and convincing acting. In fact, this movie was so bad, I can't even find the energy or desire to see the original...which, supposedly (like all horror films) is based upon actual events.