Silent House
UNI DIST CORP. (MCA)

Silent House

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Product Description Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) stars in this suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat thriller presented in real time as one shocking, uninterrupted shot. When Sarah (Olsen) finds herself sealed inside her family's secluded lake house with no contact to the outside world, panic soon turns to terror as events become increasingly ominous. Directed by filmmaking duo Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (Open Water), it’s a tension-filled journey that Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood raves is “Beyond terrifying! Clever, gripping, intense and scary as hell!” Amazon.com The 2010 Uruguayan film La Casa Muda was a rather standard Old Dark House movie elevated by a nifty central hook: namely, a single-shot structure that lent a shuddery immediacy to every creaking stair and rusty hinge. Happily, the American remake improves on the original by an order of magnitude, thanks to a script that pares away the melodramatics and instead focuses on the tremulous central performance by Elizabeth Olsen. The result is a horror film that's no fun at all, which is meant as a compliment, really. Told, once again, via what appears to be a single unbroken take, the story follows a young woman fixing up a remote, boarded-up house with her father and uncle. As the candles burn down and the doors get locked, she begins to suspect the presence of somebody (or something) not on the guest list. Directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, who previously made the nautical faux-snuff film Open Water, keep their roving camera synched with Olsen's wavering perceptions at all times, amping up the tension to a degree that even the occasional jump scare can't relieve. (Unfortunately, they can't do much to change the original's resolution, the logic of which crumbles approximately 2.5 minutes after the end credits.) Much like the found-footage genre, the real-time conceit at the heart of Silent House may fall flat for some viewers. For those more susceptible, however, the unblinking lack of distance and Olsen's increasingly credible hysteria succeed in removing the filters that normally make scary movies a pleasurable spectator sport. Gimmicky, yes, but if you can get on its wavelength, it works like gangbusters. --Andrew Wright