July 12, 2012

Blu Review- Silent House (2012)

Release Date: On DVD and Blu-ray July 24th.
Country: USA, France.
Written by: Gustavo Hernandez and Laura Lau.
Directed by: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau.
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen.

Now here's a frustrating movie.

One one hand, it's a dark, often times creepy little POV Horror flick that manages to make you jump every now and then throughout its 80+ minute running time. If you like the average Cinema Verite' Horror flick, then you might just find this one a fairly decent addition to the ranks of let's say [REC] or Paranormal Activity.

On the other, here we go again with that screw job of an ending that pretty much undoes everything that has come before it. Kinda.

Last year, we saw a little flick from Uruguay called The Silent House. It was a decent, if uneven flick, and it managed to be fairly effective despite its blah ending.  Of course Hollywood saw that it was a movie with a different and interesting premise (gimmick), and decided to remake it, and so here we are. Lucky us.

I'm not going to head into spoiler territory here, so there wont be an in depth explanation as to why we hate the ending so much, but I'm going to have to skirt things a bit to get my point across, so read on with care, even though the spoilers will be mild at the absolute most.
The Silent House is the story of Sarah (played by the ever bangin' hot Elizabeth Olsen), her Dad and her Uncle, all of whom are fixing up their dilapidated old country house so that it can be sold. Sarah begins to hear odd noises throughout the house, and it soon becomes apparent that they are not alone. Of course they all start investigating, and one single take (supposed) and shaky cam ensues. That's all we're saying, because any more words from us would spoil the movie, and this is one flick that you really need to go into with minimal knowledge of the plot or its happenings.

Why not just run?
The Silent House is a well made, good looking movie. It had a quiet, tension-filled feel about it, and for the most part it felt right. It's fairly tame as far as the blood and violence go, but the little that we do get fits well with the psychological aspect of the story.

Even though it was edited to make it look as if it were shot it one continuous take, I give credit to the filmmakers for shooting a movie in 10 segments and making it appear seamless. Even breaking it up into 10 segments must have been a huge challenge, especially with their shooting script being only 50 or so minutes long. (One script page usually equals one minute of screen time, so basically, they went into shooting with a script that they hoped would stretch way closer to 90 minutes.)

The best part of the movie was Elizabeth Oslen; both her hotness and her performance. The girl is a hell of an actress, and she carried this one on her back, despite having a less-than-stellar and limiting script to work with. Also, her wearing of a tank top was fabulous. Really, she wears it very well.

In this scene, she's looking into a mirror, admiring her own tank top-wearing ability. *Notice that she is mesmerized by it too.
Right from the get go, the American version tipped it's hand far too much and far too blatantly; even if we hadn't known the plot and "twist" that was coming, it wouldn't have been hard to figure it out. The original let its story unfold with no overt hints or nuance, and for that it worked fairly well. In this one, odd looks, odd comments and odd reactions to finding things were just too obvious. This is the problem with so many American flicks these days; there's no subtlety, and a lot of times the elements that should be subtle feel forced and obvious.

Where was the little picture montage during the end credits? Sure, it's a remake and not everything is not going to go down the way it did in the original, but that montage added something to the original movie, and made it even more creepy. I dare say it was even an important part of the whole experience. Then again, you can only push things so far where American audiences are concerned. Kid gloves.

Like this scene doesn't obviously let you know that there's a killer Cop behind it all... come on, script people!
Here's my problem with Hollywood remaking foreign films, especially when to comes to Horror; too much gets lost in translation, and the end result usually tends to be underwhelming. Why distribution companies in the U.S. don't buy the rights to some fantastic foreign movies that are already made, throw them in Theaters, and sit back while they make a little bit of profit for doing very little, is beyond me. Maybe I just answered my own question.

American films get released in foreign markets constantly, many of them to great profit. I really think that American audiences are too lazy to read subtitles, and that's a damn shame. Some of the very best Horror flicks over the past decade have been foreign made, and honestly, the average American moviegoer is missing out.

The scene where she finds the homeless cat was especially touching; naming it "Whisker Tits" however, was one of those plot elements that did not translate well to the American version.
As remakes go, this one was pretty faithful to the original and the source material from whence it came. As a movie, it has too many flaws to be truly called good, but does enough good things to avoid being called bad. We'd honestly recommend seeing the Uraguayan original before this one, because we felt it worked better as far as subtlety and pushing the envelope goes. Then again, this version of The Silent House was prettier to watch and it was better acted than its predecessor, so maybe just see them both. Maybe add it to your Netflix queue or give it a rent. Maybe.


Elizabeth Olsen is the hottest of the Olsen Sisters and the best actress of the lot. We think so, anyhow. Even if we're wrong, she's already a critical darling, and went nakie in her first movie... so we're right. I like that; we're right even if we're wrong. Yeah. Nice ring to it.

Anyway, she's hot.


  1. april washko and the new film shes in kill me again seems hotter fo real

  2. Er, the original film is from Uruguay, not Paraguay. Just saying... ;-)