“Silent House” is a new horror film that boasts in its advertisements that it was filmed to appear as though it was one continuous take. However, rather than delivering an innovating, seat-grabbing thriller, this movie came up short big time.
Although “Silent House” is not a found-footage film, it certainly has the same feel as one, especially near the beginning.
The camera is clearly hand-held as it nearly runs into Sarah, the main character played by Elizabeth Olsen, at one point as she is walking along a trail. The only difference between this and a found-footage movie is she simply doesn’t acknowledge that the cameraman is there.
Sarah is accompanying her father, John (Adam Trese), and her uncle, Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens), as they return to their old family home in the woods. There has been some minor vandalism to the home, so they board up the windows and put locks on all the doors.
In addition, there was apparently some rats who chewed through the power lines running to the house, leaving the family to use candles and flashlights as their only source of light.
This creates the scene where the majority of the film will take place: a dark and moldy old house in which there is no exit without a key for the appropriate lock.
Ordinarily, this would be an ideal setting for a horror film. Not only is it dark and ominous, but if there were to be some kind of trouble inside the home, the others within the house might not be able to get out.
However, everything about this movie was executed terribly. The basic “make the audience jump” scenes near the beginning were completely ineffective. And although Olsen grew up in an acting family, I never would have noticed from watching this film.
The better part of the dramatic situations that Sarah finds herself in are completely over-acted and over-dramatic. There were a handful of times when she was hiding and gasping that I couldn’t really tell if she was laughing or if she was upset, and there were others in the audience who felt the same way. A girl sitting behind me asked, “Does she find this funny?”
This movie was cursed right from the screenplay. The writing was absolutely atrocious; it felt like they tried to combine several overdone horror film themes together, but to no avail.
There are characters that were unneeded and plot twists that only caused things to get more entangled and senseless. There is even a scary man covered in mud whose identity never really gets explained, but I can’t say I really even cared to know by the end of this movie.
There is a little twist at the end of the film that attempts to redeem this mess, but only ends up convoluting the terrible story even more.
I simply cannot tolerate movies like this. It’s almost like the writers and directors try to trick the audience, making them question what they had seen with their own eyes only minutes before.
Rather than questioning the story, I only wondered why anyone in Hollywood would waste their time and money on a piece of garbage like this. I truly felt cheated as I left the theater.
It’s going to be hard to come up with a worse film than “Silent House” in 2012. I haven’t seen a movie this bad, horror or not, since “The Strangers.”