|Film review: Silent House (2012)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Wednesday, 02 May 2012 19:16|
Directors: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau
I've never walked out of a film, but I almost wish I had left Silent House halfway through - not because it's a bad film, but because I would've avoided the rubbish ending, taken from 2010's La Casa Muda, a Uruguayan movie which had the same structure and style, mainly consisting of scaring the crap out of you for 60 minutes by presenting everything in one single take before blowing the tension on a silly twist that defies logic and continuity; a brave move, but one that directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau only partially pull off thanks to their superb use of the camera, which creeps through the boarded-up, electricity-free house (full of bumps, creaks and other un-silent things), always one step behind a terrified Elizabeth Olsen, who out-Woman-in-Blacks Daniel Radcliffe when it comes to reacting to spooky noises in a performance that’s as intense as her stellar turn in Martha Marcy May Marlene, to the point where you begin to wonder whether Olsen will ever play a character who isn't undergoing severe mental trauma, but her escalating terror is infectious in such a claustrophobic setting, with no intrusive music to distract from threatening footsteps and shadows, while the carefully storyboarded sequences take us everywhere from an innocuous day-lit driveway to an attic filled with childhood secrets, which is where the footage, carefully-stitched together by Kentis and Lau, begins to unravel; it becomes almost unbearable as our heroine finds an old Polaroid camera and our vision is restricted to short, sharp flashes of a dusty bulb, but just as the desperation becomes palpable, it falls apart in one long, loud clunk – much like reading a film review written in only one sentence, it’s brilliant at first, but you end up wishing it stopped half an hour ago.