There is a fantastic idea at the heart of Silent House and it goes a long way to living up to it’s full potential. As a horror movie, it is very effective and although it uses a well-worn device, that device means that once the horror starts, it never really stops.
Elizabeth Olson plays Sarah, who is helping her Dad and Uncle renovate her childhood holiday home before they sell it. The camera is never off Olson for the whole movie. As the horror begins, and something or someone invades the house, you are seeing everything from Olson’s perspective and what it demonstrates is how good an actress she is. She is convincing without being over-dramatic and you feel the fear along with her.
That horror is staged very well. You are never sure what Olson is actually being terrorised by and the film takes you on some twists and turns as the story develops. Moments where you think Olson is safe are anything but and there are some great horror set-pieces that you will keep you on the edge of your seat. Some are a little cliché, particularly one involving the flash of a camera in a dark room, but not enough to undercut the movie.
As the film progresses though, clues and hints to what is actually going on make you realise that Silent House is not your run-of-the-mill horror movie. There is a very clever idea that the film goes some way to achieving but not quite. Once you’ve figured out what is actually happening, you’ll be surprised but also slightly disappointed because it could have been realised so much more effectively with just a little more time and care.
Overall, Silent House is a very clever horror movie with plenty of scares to keep you interested. Olson is very good and shows the acting talent she has now. There is a clever idea at the core of Silent House but it never realises it as well it could have done.
Rating – 4
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