Martha Marcy May Marlene and being the unknown Olsen sister is about all I knew Elizabeth Olsen-wise before this. I’ve heard great things about both, so why not try a horror movie with her? I mean The Strangers and The Collector and this looked pretty similar. What the movie brings to the table is a much more suspenseful and blood-free version of either of those. Found footage or anything resembling it has leapt from being a unique change to being its own genre with nothing unique to that offer.
Where Silent House tried to make up ground was by being billed as some sort of “real time/one take”, which, as an idea is…different. Not good or bad because cuts happen so fast in movies you don’t notice anyway. Silent House just made the screen blurry a lot (A LOT). What’s it about you ask? A girl, her father, and uncle are restoring and packing up their old lake side home. Said girl has the camera following her around and gets scared. I’ll tell you right now, they threw a twist in, which, much like the movie, sucked. Suppose it was either that route or be a knock off of The Strangers.
The one thing I did enjoy about Silent House was the ever so brief back and forth between the brothers/father and uncle/supporting actors. After taking in the whole movie, that portion comes off even better than it should.
The script. I never harp on the script. Ever. Mainly because as long as long as there is dialogue, I’m simply not picky. I don’t try to follow the logic unless something like “don’t make me shoot you” is met with “cupcakes!”, which then I may question. Silent House was by and large a display of Elizabeth Olsen’s ability to scream, run, cry, and hyperventilate.
The cinematography that the movie was kind of sold on… was bad. It got blurry more than it should have and tried to showcase acting abilities more than the movie (ie: catching reactions as opposed to letting the audience react). 3D movies have the unintentional design flaw of coming off blurry. This, though, was made to be blurry on purpose in some spots. It’s like I said in the first paragraph, the one shot idea is cool and there were parts that surprised me with pulling it off, but the casual audience is not going to notice. I repeat, YOU WILL NOT NOTICE IT IS “ONE TAKE”.
A great shot to describe the movie: Liz Olsen is scared, it’s kind of blurry, and there is terrible lighting (the house had no power, so prepare for candles and lanterns).
Unexplained characters. Guys with ski masks were appearing. I have a theory as to why, but it’s a bit of a spoiler. I will tell you that they made no sense, along with the “old friend” that randomly shows up. I think it all has to do with the crappy twist. I mean, it feels like lazy writing. “Aliens in Indy 4” levels of lazy writing.
Still a better movie despite the aliens
It’s only 88 minutes. I don’t know how this got a theatrical release. Martha Marcy May Marlene must be amazing. Mind you, the length works in the movie’s favor because it’s just over that much faster, though you still want it to be over even quicker.
Go to an Alamo Drafthouse location or some other place where alcohol levels rise as the movie goes on. I wish I hadn’t seen this. I wish I could have given it more beers, but it does so little and sucks at all of it, there aren’t even six factors to pick apart. I highly recommend saving on tickets, gas, and concessions and renting The Strangers and/or The Collector and you get a much better movie.
Depending on how much blood you want to see, I’d go with The Collector as I consider that SAW 2 on steroids, but I’ll leave more descriptors for the review. I can understand the motivations to do this movie. Elizabeth Olsen has one movie that is very generously reviewed. In the last few years, we have seen Will Smith be a one man movie in I Am Legend and Ryan Reynolds do his thing in Buried. I think Silent House was meant to be a vehicle for Elizabeth Olsen, but it’s simply not. Fortunately, I think people will be more than willing to put this in the rear view mirror and give her another shot. She’s attractive and acting is in her family, even great actors have a few bombs for various reasons. Also, let us not forget that the people who made this also did Open Water. Oops.
Bonus Drinking Game
I think you should already be drunk, or decide to drink anyway when watching this, but let’s see if I can dig up some excuses:
Take a Drink: for every noise heard by Ms. Olsen
Take a Drink; if you get confused by anything or when trying to figure things out
Drink a Shot: when you feel like leaving the theater and going to The Lorax
On second thought, with how blurry and shaky the movie gets you may want to hold off on the booze because you’ll start thinking the room is spinning after one drink.
Go Buy: another Six Pack after the movie so you can attempt to forget it