It’s important to first note that Silent House is a remake of the 2010 Uruguayan film of the same name, a fact that draws perhaps deserved skepticism when considering other remakes, such as Let Me In; the remake of the Swedish Let the Right One In. Overall, this film, whilst not particularly poor in itself, certainly furthers the argument that Hollywood remakes of world cinema are perhaps no substitute for just watching the original (even if you do have to deal with the incredibly demanding task of reading the subtitles).
The film is centred around a young woman named Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), who whilst staying at her family’s lakeside Victorian house in preparation for its sale (a situation we can no doubt all relate to) finds herself locked in, having discovered her father unconscious, having been attacked.
The film is presented as a single continuous shot, and as such promises “88 minutes of real fear captured in real time”. In this respect it does, to an extent, live up to this promise. The single shot presentation is intense when it comes to generating an almost tangible sense of fear and claustrophobia, in the spooky setting of an old Victorian-style house. Despite this, there are some serious negatives brought about. Fundamentally it allows for very little investment in the film’s characters, as no time is taken to provide any element of context or back-story. As such, the film’s major developments are relatively cold and uninteresting, which is a shame as it feels like the novelty of the single shot presentation is held above much needed plot developments.
Olsen’s performance is adequate, good enough to convey the sense of terror that one would imaginably demonstrate if locked in a house under attack, but fails to really engage the audience enough to merit serious emotional investment. However this is perhaps not so much her fault as it is the nature of the film.
Despite these drawbacks, the film is worth watching for fans of films such as The Blair Witch Project and I will admit to feeling slightly less safe in my own home after watching this film (which is the aim of horror…right?). Though if you’re after a more engaging experience, you would be best sticking with a classic such as Carrie.
All in all, whilst relatively entertaining as an experience for the novelty of its single shot presentation, the film feels quite like what it was; a Hollywood remake. So if you’ve got your heart set on watching Silent House any time soon, go ahead… just make sure it’s the original.