Friday, 2 September 2011

REVIEW: Silent House

From Uruguay comes a real-time horror flick which has the unique selling point that it's all been filmed in one take. Come inside and enter The Silent House ... please wipe your shoes.

There's something brave about this film. Is it the sheer bravado that comes with announcing that it has all been rehearsed to such a scale that a horror film can literally be made in ninety minutes? Or the reality of it? There is so much darkness that it would be sheer stupidity if they didn't cut along the way - and so I will end any questions now. Let's presume it wasn't done in one take.

Now that that's out of the way, we can delve through the hype and into whether this is a good film or not. However, I'm slightly on the fence about it. The slow burning beginning might seem a tad too long for some, but I always find that it helps set the scene, examine characters and build up the tension which is always a plus. Once everything starts going wrong, you wander around the house with our protagonist Laura as things start going bump in the dark. I do have a few issues with this . Mainly, she makes a somewhat meagre attempt to escape the house but by no means puts any effort into it, so the initial creeping around the house seems a bit stupid. If there's some kind of killer around, why would you be snooping trying to find him? Also, when she does ever go outside, it's dusk at best, never night-time, which makes it less scary and I question why they were going to sleep while the sun was still up in any case.

However, for it's faults, the film allows the viewer to snoop around the spooky house with Laura as she uncovers stranger and stranger things. Little girls turn up, weird paintings, the staircase leading to the dreaded upstairs, strange photos on walls, noises in the distance, they all create an atmosphere that plays on the audience's imagination by giving you glimpses of things - one inspiring sequence with a Polaroid flash was brilliant to say the least. Once you start nearing the end and you fathom what the hell is going on, you feel cheated and it's a real shame that they couldn't have come up with something slightly better or at least more original. In fact, it means the entire story doesn't make any sense and the strange credits sequence leaves you feeling like the attachment you built up for Laura got severed, that you were perhaps punished for rooting for her.

By going into this in too much detail, I'll be giving the game away. It's safe to say though that I did enjoy the film and is one step further in the evolution of horror, especially modern ones like Paranormal Activity where low-budget scares are more than often the best way to go. Whatever is going bump in the dark in your head, will always be scarier than reality.

Don't mistake this film for the American remake that will be coming out soon either. Apparently it's not much different and, like a lot of remakes, a lot worse. Find this out and have a look because, for the majority of the film, I felt I was with Laura in a horribly creepy house and for that scare alone, it's worth the money. Minus a point for the ending though.

Rating: 6/10

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