SILENT HOUSE (2012)
Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Julia Taylor Ross, Adam Barnett and Haley Murphy.
Screenplay by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau.
Directed by Laura Lau.
Distributed by Open Road Films. 85 minutes. Rated R.
Silent House came so close. It was well on its way to being one of the best horrors of the year, maybe in several years, when the wheels came off.
A remake of the Uruguayan film La casa muda, Silent House has a very simple, primal storyline. A young woman named Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is helping her father (Adam Trese) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) close down their family's old lake house, which has been unused for years. The house has no electricity, boarded up windows and mold running rampant through the place.
As night falls, after the uncle has left, it appears that someone has broken into the house, has attacked her dad and is stalking Sarah. She stumbles through the dark, hiding from the intruder, trying to help her father and looking the missing keys or for a way out.
This is all filmed in real time, long, silent takes following the girl as she tries to figure out who is doing this, why and how to survive.
Olsen - the more talented younger sister of twins Mary Kate and Ashley - carries the film completely. She is more than up to the task, as she also showed in her work earlier this year in Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Unfortunately, after an absolutely wonderful first hour and a quarter or so, the film attempts to shift gears with what it considers a shocking and horribly disturbing explanation. This climax conversely has the effect of undoing most of the fine work that has come before. Although, yes, in theory some horribly dark corners are exposed in Sarah's world, it weirdly makes the film feel more like a film than it had previously. We've all seen variations of this ending before - in more thrillers than we can count. Therefore, the horror of the situation feels oddly anti-climactic. Oh yeah, been there, done that.
You could not really say that about the rest of the film. It seemed to be going somewhere new and exciting, so the end - while not ruining the movie - does put a damper on it.
Still, everything leading up to the disappointing climax is so well-done that Silent House is definitely worth seeing.
Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 10, 2012.