Silent House (2011) review


Trapped in her family’s lakeside retreat, a young woman finds she is unable to contact the outside world as events become increasingly ominous inside the house.

Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
Written by Gustavo Hernandes and Laura Lau
Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer
Released 4th May 2012
Run Time 86 minutes
Certificate 15

I’ve been somewhat dreading this remake for a while, but I finally caved and decided to watch it.
The original is shot in real-time, so its slow paced but ultimately very tense and realistic. It claims to be shot in one continuous take, but whether you believe that or not is up to you! All I know is that this 2011 American remake is most definitely not shot in one take! I don’t even know if it claims to be one take, or whether its just mimicking the original by disguising the cuts. I’m no scientist, but I know for sure that blood stains on a t-shirt don’t move position or change shape on their own!
One thing I admired about the original, whether or not its shot in one take, is the way the story is told in real time. Its tense and drawn out and very successful in giving the audience the creeps. This was replicated quite well in the first three quarters of the remake, so no complaints there! In fact there’s not much difference between the remake and the original, only the language and actors. It feels slightly less authentic, but it has the same darkness and tension.
The ending ruined it for me. The tension all fizzles out the minute the film begins to drag; drawing out the ending and resolution of the plot. Then the story wraps itself up in a tenuous and over the top bundle, which to me seemed thrown together at the last minute.

The original Silent House, and indeed the concept behind both films, gave me lots of ideas for horror filmmaking. Its a very different way to tell a story, and not many narratives could get away with being told in real-time, however it seems to work as a way to build tension and make the audience feel uncomfortable. It was shot in such a way that it certainly looked like it was shot in one continuous take, meaning we followed the protagonist throughout and the camera movement was slow, this prevented an omniscient audience as we only see what the protagonist sees, and I felt that this too was a great way to build tension. I’m interested in the horror genre, and am always looking for something a bit different, Silent House, although by no means a brilliant horror film, has given me many ideas on how a horror film could be shot in order to create a good atmosphere.


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