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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Silent House (2012)

That's showbusiness. Let's take one of the most exciting acting talents in years and throw her into a one take experimental remake of a Uruguayan movie where she hardly gets to say anything. Let's put her in the dark, so we can see about as much of her as she can of her surroundings and then let's start rolling that bad boy and see what happens.

It sounds, well... unfulfilling. [REC] threw us into a multi-floored grope-about-a-thon very well indeed, and despite the lack of a hand-held camera prop, this isn't, at first glance, so very different. Lots of creeping about, terrified of opening doors for fear of what may be on the other side, but still having to, in order to escape.

Starring Elizabeth Olsen, in only her second film after the impressive Martha Marcy May Marlene, this is the short and real-time story of Sarah, who gets trapped in the family lake house while emptying it in preparedness for its upcoming sale. Things go bump in the house after about fifteen minutes in and we're off, skulking in darkened rooms, trembling and speechless with fear as an unknown assailant strides through the house looking for her. The tension is palpable and Olsen does a fine job of 'scaredy-cat-useless-girly'. This should come as no surprise, Olsen is a talent indeed and you have to wonder what possessed someone with so much promise to sign up for this.

This comes from the Directors of Open Water, another unusual thriller tale that received some good reviews, but they have bitten off more than they can chew here and for farcical, it truly rivals Insidious for its cliched ending. Most of the audience will see the denouement and reveal coming from the other side of the lake, in the dark, with sunglasses on. Ultimately, it's absurd, predictable and a bit of a disappointment, given the impressive trailer.

Hopefully, Olsen will go onto greater things quickly from here, as she has a fine onscreen presence. Her commitment to the one take method is admirable, but faith in the process has not really borne fruit. The direction here was the most annoying part of the film. One point of note, although I could go on, would be never to direct your leading actress to be terrified, yet happy to stand with their back to an open doorway, in the dark, knowing there is someone in the house trying to get at her. It just doesn't scan. It's careless and hurried. If you must do it in one take, then do it right, or do it again. If that's too hard, don't do it in one take.


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