Written by Laura Lau
Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
Starring Elizabeth Olsen
Imagine being trapped in a secluded lake house with an intruder and little way to defend yourself. There is no electricity, no phone service and you have no idea where the key to the front door is. Imagine how tense every single minute of that experience would be and you have SILENT HOUSE, a thriller from Chris Kentis (OPEN WATER) and Laura Lau (directorial debut), and remake of the 2010 Uraguayan film of the same name. Well, theoretically you would have the premise of this movie because it is shot to make it look like one continuous shot from start to finish, much like Alfred Hitchcock's ROPE. The effect is supposed to make you feel like you’re there, trapped in that house too. Sadly, the end result is a bit more tedious than terrifying.
Most of the action centers around Sarah, played by the wide-eyed wonder, Elizabeth Olsen (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE). Sarah is spending some time up at the family lake house, prepping it to be sold, with the help of her father and uncle (Adam Trese and Eric Scheffer Stevens, respectively). After her uncle has stepped out to go to the store, Sarah begins hearing noises in the house. She tells her father and he falls down the stairs as he investigates the situation. From there on in, it is her mission to get out of that house but as her ordeal progresses, it becomes clear that there is more to this situation than just a mere home invasion. What is in fact happening is actually pretty fascinating from a psychological standpoint, but unfortunately, the original terror loses its nerve before the real world scares come to light.
Running something in real time, while executed well from a technical standpoint in SILENT HOUSE, can be problematic because of all the time in between actual action. Yes, this is a frightening experience but much of that amounts to Olsen looking petrified as she goes from room to room to find a way out of her personal hell. She proves once again that she has a face that can reveal both unexpected and unnerving layers of emotional depth. Her strength elevates the film to a watchable level but not much further than that. Olsen will shine much brighter some other time, in a film with much better lighting too.
SILENT HOUSE is available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, July 17, from eOne Entertainment.