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Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 49 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Sarah is a young woman who finds herself sealed inside her family’s secluded lake house. With no contact to the outside world, and no way out, panic turns to terror as events become increasingly ominous in and around the house. (Open Road Films)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 30
  2. Negative: 4 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew Lapin
    Mar 9, 2012
    85
    Silent House is smart about its scares as well as its delivery method.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 7, 2012
    67
    The long take pulls you into the realism of the moment, heightening any sense of unease already established by the story. In Silent House, directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau ("Open Water") exploit the hell out of that uneasiness and keep pushing its limits.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 8, 2012
    63
    "Paranormal Activity" has been here before, of course, but Silent House springs tangy new tricks, and Olsen is a primo scream queen.
  4. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Mar 8, 2012
    50
    Its most remarkable featis sustaining the level of forebodeingly atmospheric suspense.
  5. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Mar 8, 2012
    50
    The film's most interesting aspects are its gimmicks rather than its frights.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Mar 8, 2012
    40
    The film is at its best as a fast-paced enigma. When Kentis and Lau start explaining what's actually going on, Silent House takes a turn not just for the worse but the ludicrous.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Mar 4, 2012
    25
    Silent House dies a sudden and egregious death when the amateur players in Olsen's company, Adam Trese and Eric Sheffer Stevens, as her character Sarah's father and uncle, respectively, open their traps.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 19
  2. Negative: 3 out of 19
  1. Mar 9, 2012
    10
    In today's world of movies, it's hard to find a decent film. Although the trailer looked thrilling, I came onto Metacritic, saw the critic reviews and said "Well, it can't be that awful". Take my advice, this was quite possibly one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The story was dreadful, the scares were nothing, and the acting was top notch horrible. Save the money, and get it on video if you're that desperate. Expand
  2. Mar 13, 2012
    9
    Billiantly done movie. Very smart and almost overly engaging as a horror movie. For 88 minutes this movie puts your whole body and edge and after it's over you can't help but disect all the details you must have missed. Rare movie that is meant to be seen more than once. The pioneering of the single take movie really speaks to the director's and actor's talent level. Great movie, go see. Collapse
  3. Mar 9, 2012
    8
    Silent House is a stylish nightmare of a movie, and one of the most terrifying experiences I've had at the cinema. This is the kind of film that will haunt you after you leave the theater. It's a tour de force directorial effort from Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, who previously collaborated on the 2003 thriller Open Water. Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah proves herself in a demanding role to be the next great Scream Queen since Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. Olsen carries the film on her shoulders, and there is not a moment we do not share her terror. Full review on my blog. Expand
  4. Mar 9, 2012
    7
    Interesting case in Silent House, after appear in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Elizabeth Olsen have a good performance, and the story in Silent House is incredible, this is a fresh sorprise, is not excellent, but is fresh. Expand
  5. Apr 1, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A crime photo begets the crime scene, that's the function of the unforgettable last shot in Roman Polanski's Repulsion, where after an exploratory pan across Helen's apartment, the camera revisits and lingers upon an old family snapshot, bringing into sharp focus the dissonance behind this distinguished-looking bloodline, whose smiles suddenly seem put-on, as if this display of unconditional familial bliss, in actuality, is hiding a conspiracy. You see the manicurist as a young girl looking off to the side with terrified eyes, commonly presumed by many to be trained on the old man seated in his chair, the manicurist's father. But on closer inspection, does the focal point of the young girl align with the old man, or is Carole attending to some malevolent presence in the black and white photo's negative space? From a kitchen window, Carole(Catherine Deneuve) observes the abbey across from her older sister's flat, and it's the positioning of the nuns, in which the filmmaker relegates the chaste women(out getting some fresh air) to the diegetical margin that seems conspicuous, since it alludes somewhat to the old picture, because like the unseen presence that scares Carole, the nuns are off to the side. In Silent House, Sarah(Elizabeth Olsen) uncovers repressed memories of sexual abuse at the hands of her father(interestingly, he has a biblical name), whereas Carole, quite possibly(in which the nuns are meant to suggest more than her wish to join a convent), was molested by a higher "father", a priest, whose religious denomination could be described as a "silent house", when the subject turns to pedophilia. After all, the male figment that greets Carole at night in her bed looks nothing at all like her father. The would-be rapist, potentially, is the same man who, years ago, damaged a little girl irreparably, resulting in a grown woman rendered celibate due to her fear of sex, and furthermore, abhors sex outside the sanctity of marriage, which is why Carole(the Catholic) judges Helen(the lapsed Catholic) harshly for her affair with the married man, the older sister's part-time live-in lover. Sarah, on the other hand, had a boyfriend, somebody that inspires John to say, "Princess, he doesn't deserve you," an ex who wants to reunite with his comely daughter. As it turns out, this fatherly concern, this obligatory bit of paternal love, so seemingly unremarkable, is the wrong kind of love, a latency that manifests itself at the crime scene, Sarah's childhood home, where the haunting is atypical for it being steeped in physiognomy instead of the usual metaphysical phenomena. Once it becomes clear that the dry rot has metaphorical properties that exceed its corporeality, the Polanski film rears its sex-hating head, because the dry rot is part of the same psycho-architectural language as the cracks that Carole projects onto the apartment walls. Since Sarah, by virtue of the short conversation she has with dad about her love life, we know the woman has gone on dates, whereas the French wallflower thwarts a persistent suitor at every turn. It doesn't mean, however, that Sarah is any more social than Carole, as evidenced by the pained expression in which she receives a hug from Sophia, an old friend, and the fact that this college-aged girl doesn't attend school, choosing instead to work for John's house restoration business. Sarah's aversion to being touched, quite possibly, is a clue as to why things didn't work out with the beau. Maybe, similar to Carole, she can't get intimate, repulsed by a man's touch since her first sexual relationship was a grossly inappropriate one. Silent House, a remake of Gustavo Hernandez's La Casa Muda, differs from the 2010 Uruguayan film in that Carole may be less innocent than her counterpart, Laura, since the new film fleshes out the apparition of a girl from the original into Sophia, all grown up, a young woman who may have been victimized not only by Sarah's father, but Sarah herself, an exploited girl who may have played the role of her father's collaborator, a suggestion made valid by the fact that she is still working for John, albeit now for a legitimate enterprise, and not child pornography. Unlike Neil(Joseph Gordon Leavitt) in Greg Araki's Mysterious Skin, Sarah forgot about the abuse. Brian remembers, though. Similar to how a youth baseball coach employs Neil to lure other boys, Sophia may have been recruited by Sarah, in which both children were under the specter of a sinister man. Brian, growing up, fosters the notion that he was abducted by aliens, thereby transmuting Mysterious Skin into a faux science fiction film. Likewise, Silent House is not a horror movie. The subject in both films are deposited in a speculative genre piece as a filmic salve to deal with, and, ultimately, postpone the inevitable bombshell that there are no aliens, or in Sarah's case, things do not go bump in the night by their own volition. Expand
  6. Jan 25, 2013
    4
    Silent House proposes an interesting gimmick, which is to shoot an entire film in one take, providing us with the unblinking view of our main characters' lives, but then unfortunately fuels it with one of the most tedious, mundane, repetitive storylines in a blue moon. The story here is so unfit to work alongside an impressively genuine gimmick that it distracts the viewer and we are left to solemnly hope that we will see this gimmick illustrated more efficiently in the near future.

    Our story is set with Sarah, played by Elizabeth Olsen, a woman working with her father (Adam Trese) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) to repair a rather decrepit countryside home that lacks electricity in order to churn a healthy profit. Call it the American Dream. Until Sarah discovers that the house seems to be able to crank out ominous noises and strange quirks, she feels frightened to even be in the home. Call it the American scream.

    The remainder of the film consists of our desperate heroine, wandering around in this strange little locale in the middle of desolate nowhere as she explores the attic, the upstairs, occasionally being a victim to a loud, abrupt noise that not only serve as her misfortune, but ours simultaneously, when we discover this is all the film has to offer in terms of scares.

    What we get as a storyline isn't too deep, but rather an awkwardly put together assembly of odds and ends that do nothing but accentuate unusual horror movie logic than can not be explained. Sarah, her father, and her uncle arrive at the home rather late in the day, and plan to spend the night there and rise bright and early to continue working on the house. Why didn't they just rise bright and early the next morning, drive to the home, and spend the whole day working on it? What's the attraction to sleep in a creepy, dilapidated, barely-standing home in the middle of nowhere? Also, when Victoria has the ability to finally leave the house, in the middle of the film when she finds her uncle arriving home, why doesn't her and her uncle stay outside and drive away, seeing as there is no cell phone reception. To give the film a runtime over eighty-minutes, that's why.

    Elizabeth Olsen is apparently on a path clearer than the ones her two twin sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley, took, I often hear. Here, she is performing an obligation. An obligation that nearly requires her to perform in a low-budget horror film that will provide her with bread on her table, a film under her belt, and hopefully enough recognition to advance her to other, more sufficient projects.

    At several points, I was reminded of the film The Woman in black, released a few months before Silent House. That film was made with a true sense of detail, artistry, and successfully mimicked that of a Hammer horror film. What is lacking here is the element of detail, as we are given the same cardboard setting to stare at for the entire eighty minutes of the film and nothing truly ever comes to life as it did in that film. I felt consumed by the setting there. Here, I felt manipulated by it.

    Silent House's idea of using one long, continuous take was predicated off the fact that the original Uruguayan film, La casa muda this is remaking used the same little gimmick. What it succeeds in is giving us a real-time look into Sarah and her situation. One almost hates to belittle the effort of the filmmakers and cast, who definitely needed to adjust to the idea of having a "cue" when to walk on screen, take place, and most likely possessed the thought of doing something incorrectly, ruining the one-take design. It's too bad what we're given is a real-time look into a character in situation not worth watching.

    Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, and Eric Sheffer Stevens. Directed by: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau.
    Expand
  7. Nov 30, 2012
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. At best, "Silent House" is an interesting experiment of a film - a movie that's more suspense than horror, and goes for a decidedly unique approach by making the entire feature appear as a continuous shot. Although this does allow for some decent build-up and tension at first, by the second act the film gets somewhat monotous and sometimes tedious, with only Elisabeth Olsen's cleavage to maintain any engagement whatsoever.

    However, anything good the movie had going for it is completely lost in the third act. Although this is delivered in a frustratingly cryptic and rather clumsy manner, the climax reveals that Olsen's character has essentially developed a dangerous psychological dichotomy, which has apparently been festering within her all this time since her father and uncle sexually abused and impregnated her as a child, then forced her to undergo an abortion. This mental scarring takes her over during the film's runtime, making her see things and hiding from her childhood demons, until in the end she finally kills her father and leaves her uncle miserably whimpering in the corner.

    Personally, this took the plot just too far in the wrong direction. Horror/suspense films in which the main character is crazy are often, at best, only decent to start. But to discover, after we've spent just enough time following her about the house to become attached to her, that our lead is suffering a mental breakdown due to a tragic and horrific past is a truly depressing revelation to have to sit through, and leaves you feeling in need of a shower. There is no real triumph here - Olsen's character has not really claimed any victory, because she has not conquered her fear of her past. She has only bludgeoned to death the perpetrator of her abuse, and will likely wander off into the rest of her life as the tortured soul we've endured the presence of for the past ninety minutes. This is not a happy film, a scary film or a gripping film - it's just a bad experience.
    Expand

See all 19 User Reviews

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