Film Review: Silent House

Elizabeth Olsen stars in this claustrophic, real-time, thriller, where things go bump in a dilapidated house.

Silent House

Cert. 15

2/5 stars

SARAH (Elizabeth Olsen) escapes to her family’s lakeside retreat following a break-up, with plans to help her dad and uncle restore the crumbling property.


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With no electricity, a maze of corridors and blocked-up doorways and the entire second floor rendered unsafe, the isolated house is a textbook horror film setting.

When Sarah hears the unmistakable sound of footsteps upstairs, her dad goes to investigate, but doesn’t return.

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Certain that she’s seen a man and a young girl sneaking around, Sarah enlists her uncle to hunt down whoever it is that is terrorising them.

Elizabeth Olsen again proves her worth as Hollywood’s rising star, with a visceral performance almost completely devoid of dialogue.

Her naturalness captures the essence all horror directors strive for-to make the audience feel as though this could happen to them-and everything that happens to her and her family does indeed seem perfectly plausible, until Sarah’s deteriorating state of mind starts to make you question what is and isn’t real.

The film was shot to appear as if it was one continuous take and, combined with the real-time storyline, makes for a claustrophobic viewing experience.

The climactic twist comes from nowhere, but rather than being the satisfying pay-off the film-makers hoped for, audiences are likely to be frustrated that it wasn’t more cleverly woven in to the rest of the film.

The reasons behind the strange goings-on in the house are ingenious, but everything culminates within a couple of minutes, making the twist feel like an after-thought.

Ashley Whittaker

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