Monday, October 7, 2013

Silent House

Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau.
2012. Rated R, 86 minutes.
Adam Treese
Eric Sheffer Stevens
Julia Taylor Ross
Adam Barnett
Haley Murphy

Sarah (Olsen) is at the summer house her family owns with her father and uncle. They’re packing and patching things up in order to get it ready to sell. Progress is slow, and not helped by the fact that the power is out. You know what that means. Once the sun sets, and the uncle goes out for a bit, Sarah starts hearing all sorts of noises, including footsteps. However, this is no ghost story and those are real footsteps. Maybe. There really is someone uninvited walking around the house. They've already given dad the business and now they’re after her. Sarah playing cat and mouse with the intruder ensues.

We’re treated to little more than an hour of Sarah panting, crying, and scurrying from room to room, hiding under tables and around corners, then out of the house when her uncle returns, as her tormentor slowly searches for her. The methodical thump of footsteps and the surprisingly unnerving sound of an old school Polaroid camera are very effective creating a sense of pending doom. It helps that Olsen’s performance really sells it all. On occasion, it feels repetitive. How many times can the boogeyman just miss our heroine before we begin to feel he’ll never catch her?

Thankfully, some other things start happening. Namely, Sarah starts seeing more stuff. They seem random, at first, but definitely advance the plot. To this end, there is also the happy-go-lucky neighbor whom she use play with as a child, but can’t really remember. When all becomes clear is the viewer’s moment of truth. You’ll either label it genius and proclaim this one of the best horror movies in recent memory, or think it’s downright dumb and a waste of time. Those in the camp of the former will likely pull out all of their dime store psychology to explain it to people in the latter. Whichever way you lean, just don’t come into Silent House thinking you’re going to see a bunch of dead teenagers with hacked off body parts. It uses whatever surface thrills it has early, but leads to something for us to ponder, not some grand blood bath. I personally lean toward genius, but realize it’s probably a love-it or hate-it type of flick.


  1. Interesting, because I agree with this review as well. We both hated the Innkeepers (which a lot of people liked) and we both liked Silent House (which a lot of people hated).

    So... go us!