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Silent House

August 29, 2012

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The premise is intriguing and according to the poster this film features “real fear” as opposed to regular “fear.”  A family is hunted by killers/ghosts/killer ghosts who bang on doors and like to play hide and seek. The twist is that the film is done in a single take (strategic cuts). The filmmaking vision is there but the plot, writing and performances other than Elizabeth Olsen’s are soul hurting. When the final credits are rolling I guarantee you will have a look on your face that says “oh, brother.”

Elizabeth Olsen is fantastic. She has a magnetic screen presences and after Martha Marcy May Marlene is proving to be a force of natural nature. It is impressive how she pulls off so many emotions while hiding under a table. Olsen deserves better material but this proves she can carry a bad movie on her shoulders and make it watchable.

 

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This film puts her in a category with another ultra talented actress Jennifer Lawrence (who also became popular with an indie Winters Bone). I call it the “white tank top horror film” category. They did these films before they hit it big and now they have to deal with audiences watching them run around in white tank tops while killers harass them.

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Without Olsen this film would have been next weeks Bad Movie Tuesday. Whatever tension that is built comes crashing down the second she goes BACK into the house. She escapes the house and is running away when her sleazy uncle picks her up and takes her back in the house. Then, the twist  feels so gratuitous it is makes you groan. Every object the characters inspected (safe, pictures, key) we knew would be involved later and my girlfriend figured out the twist early on. There are several jumps but all the horror clichés make an appearance. For instance, Polaroid camera flashes for light, loud thuds upstairs and people hiding under beds happen frequently.

This movie should have spent less time on the one take gimic and instead focused on plot and character. A cool idea means nothing if the story is stock. The directors must have landed Olsen due to the one take premise but got so caught up in the filming they forgot to surround her with capable actors and an intelligent script.

Watch Silent House for Elizabeth Olsen. She is a fantastic actress and survives her “tank top horror” without a scratch.

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