"Silent House," the American remake of Gustavo Hernández's low-budget 2010 Uruguayan horror film, garnered attention because it was shot in one continuous take. Many recognized this as a gimmick, while others felt it was an exercise in true talent for the actors involved. How did moviegoers and critics respond to the unique film?
"Silent House" failed to entertain most critics. Rafer Guzman of Newsday reported, "The creeping presence of horror-flick hokum not only robs the scares of their strength, it shatters the realism that the single-take format is trying to convey."
Reelviews' James Berardinelli wrote, "Unfortunately, so much of what could be great about this movie is undercut by the instability of the hand-held camera and the weak ending." Kate Erbland of Boxoffice Magazine complained, "'Silent House's' change-up from home invasion scarefest to limp psychological terror is bad, but worse yet, it's boring."
A few reviewers found the movie interesting. Kathleen Murphy of MSN Movies stated, "For 88 minutes, [Elizabeth] Olsen rivets our attention, and the camera's, so fiercely it verges on unbearable.'Silent House' is her movie." Film.com's Eric D. Snider declared it "Practically a master class in how to tell a spooky-house story." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone remarked, "'Silent House' springs tangy new tricks, and Olsen is a primo scream queen."
Film audiences didn't care for "Silent House." Michael C. simply said producers "Should have called it 'Suck House.' Elizabeth Olsen runs around two floors in a dark house for 88 minutes. So looking at this trailer we have another scary haunted house movie with jumpy scenes and reality based. Or so you think ... this movie isn't what you think."
Michael N. related, "One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Some of the worst acting I've ever seen (from everyone [but] Elizabeth Olsen). It's an incredibly stupid movie that thinks it's very clever." Tracy M. stated, "Uhg ... the nicest thing I can say about it is that it was short. It used every suspense movie trick and ploy like some sort of bad homage to the masters."
A small number of moviegoers enjoyed "Silent House." Wes W. declared, "I think it was a very intense movie that had a great twist. It was unique in its own way and had me jumping out of my seat." Jackie B. stated, "I loved it. The film work was fantastic and kept me on [the edge of] my seat the entire movie. The twist at the end really sold it for me, didn't expect that at all." Kyle M. remarked, "'Silent House' is still good old-fashioned drive-in movie fun with a modern day look and gimmick."
Family entertainment website Movieguide.org reported, "Silent House' is filmed in only one shot, which is impressive. It has an unpredictable twist at the end, which shows something else is going on entirely. However, the twist is so disgusting that it turns what was an intense, perhaps even positive, thriller into a very disturbing tale. Also, the twist leads to an ending where none of the three family members survives fully intact. The disgusting ending makes it just another abhorrent, depressing horror show."
Chris Kentis and Laura Lau directed "Silent House." It stars Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer, and Julia Taylor Ross. The movie is rated R for disturbing violent content and terror. It was released through Open Road Films on March 9, 2012.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Kenneth Branagh, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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