March 11, 2012

Movie: Silent House

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:49 am

There are some interesting titbits about this movie. First, the central character in this Hollywood movie is Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of the famous Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twins (OK, I said ‘more famous’, not ‘more loved’). Second, the movie is a remake of a film from Uruguay, made just two years ago, called ‘La Casa Muda’ which means ‘The Silent House’.

The claim to fame of this movie is that it is supposed to offer the single-take experience, and often, in the movie you see this really, since the camera never leaves a character as he or she moves around an old castle, falling apart. The original Uruguay version is set in a small village in that country in the 1940s and is purported to be based on a real life incident.

Sarah visits the family’s lake house after a very long time, with her father and her uncle. The place is to be done up and sold, and she is here to collect her things and pack them up. The electricity fails right in the beginning (of course, it is a horror flick) and also, even in broad daylight, the interior of the house is in perpetual darkness. Everyone stumbles around, carrying battery powered lamps and flashlights.

There are enough scares when the characters move around individually in the darkness (of course) and Elizabeth portrays terror beautifully – initially. But when she is in a state of heightened terror almost all the way through the movie and when she and her uncle creep around cautiously inside the house even when they believe that someone is hurt and needs their help, one feels it is all a bit too much. But there is no denying the fabulous portrait of a frightened girl by Elizabeth.

The story includes a childhood friend of Sarah called Sophia, whom Sarah does not remembers first but recalls later. We learn that it is important to the movie only at the end.

The ending has got a great twist, which I liked, but there was just too much of Sarah moving around in the house reacting to strange noises all around, and the twist at the end also seems to be a bit abrupt, especially with the movie leading in another direction with a lot of mysterious characters moving around – at the back of the car, and inside the house on the other side of the corridor etc. After explanation, it kind of makes sense, but I thought that was a little bit of cheating!

The original Uruguay version is supposed to have offered a one take experience where the camera lives with Sarah without a break and the Hollywood version certainly does that too. I have not seen the original but this, while adding to the terror, sometimes goes crazy, for example, in the scene where she blindly runs from the house, and the camera follows bumpily.

It may be just me, but I thought the filming in a few places were vague and a bit confusing.

All in all, not the greatest of horrors, but may be worth a watch if you are just out to watch a moderately plausible story but a jumpy experience.

Overall, a 5/10

— Krishna


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