1001 Movies: Silent House

Have you ever seen one of those movies where they have you hooked all the way the end and the twist just leaves you scratching your head? If you’ve seen Silent House then you know what I’m talking about. Apparently I need to be pickier with my movie selections because I’m fifty-fifty at best.

5.) Silent House:

Silent House is one of those movies that look pretty but below the surface it’s hollow and a little dimwitted. I think the cast and crew did well enough to execute visually but the writing is what keeps Silent House from being a pretty impressive horror film.

The story begins with Sarah, her father and uncle working on the family’s impressive summer house to get it ready to sell. Pretty quickly Sarah realizes that the house isn’t as empty as they thought. Cut off from the outside world, Sarah must fight to escape the summer house before the new tenants get a hold of her first.

I’m such a firm believer that endings are the most important part of a movie. It can either redeem a story or condemn it to mediocrity. Unfortunately Silent House is a victim of the latter. The movie starts off strong enough and does a great job at inflicting tension on the audience by using a lot of sound effects. Very little is seen of the people trying to apprehend Sarah. What really impressed me and gave the feeling of being part of the story was the long continuous shot. It also gave a sense of suspense because you weren’t given any more information than Sarah.

Elizabeth Olsen’s performance was one of the best parts of the movie. While there were times where her performance may have teetered on the over dramatic side, she still did a good job of carrying this movie on her own. Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer Stevens did well enough as Sarah’s father and Uncle, but their parts weren’t large enough to give them a chance to do much.

The biggest fault of Silent House has to go to the ending. I’m all for twist endings and I find them all the more impressive when clues are dangled in front of my face and I’m still surprised, but this ending just comes out of left field. When you realize that Sarah is really acting out on repressed memories of being molested as a child and isn’t aware of her actions, it just comes off dumb. I can overlook that this ending has been used countless times if it’s set up correctly, but Silent House just wasn’t able to do so. I also found it sort of funny that I watched this film after Intruders and the themes were so similar.

If you’re a fan of the found footage genre then you may enjoy this film and Elizabeth Olsen continues to prove that she’s the Olsen real acting chops, but in the end I can’ say I’ll remember this movie in a few months.

Well, the journey to a 1001 films has taken another step toward completion. I look forward to whatever surprises the magical world of cinema has in store for me. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and may the nerd be with you.

-Joe D. 


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