“Silent House” has its moments, but the movie falters in the third act

“Silent House” is not your ordinary haunted house film.

Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is a young woman who is helping his father John (Adam Trese) and uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) fix her family’s secluded lake house in order to sell it. The only way to walk through the boarded up and dark house is to carry either a flashlight or lantern. As Peter takes off to get some more supplies, John disappears from Sarah’s sight as they were walking around the house. Panic turns to terror as Sarah fears she is not alone in the house.

Just like the 2010 Uruguayan horror movie it remakes, the action that takes place onscreen in “Silent House” is unedited as the movie unfolds in one continuous take. However, husband-and-wife directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (“Open Water”) has said in interviews that they pierced together several long takes to create this illusion. This does not mean that they did not do a terrific job creating tension throughout the movie making viewers be alert and aware of what is happening on-screen.

It is does not go without saying that thanks to great choreography and careful planning with the directors,  cinematographer Igor Martinovich does some impeccable and beautifully executed camera work.

There are moments where the lack of the film’s subtle score makes the movie more unsettling to watch as all you can hear in the movie are strange noises and the sound of Olsen panicked breathing as she tries to find a way out of the house.

After her breakthrough performance in “Martha Marcy May Marlene”, Elizabeth Olsen continues to impress as she does a fantastic job going through a gamut of emotions and ends up carrying this movie by herself. Olsen’s performance is the most impressive performance that I have seen in a horror movie.

All of the clichés of a typical haunted house movie are in “Silent House” including several moments where the character’s actions are deemed illogical for several reasons. You would think that any of these characters have never seen a scary movie in their life.

As the movie progresses and becomes more terrifying with every creak and sound the house makes, it stumbles in the third act as Sarah discovers the house’s past and that nothing is what it seems. As this “twist” is ultimately revealed, it just feels like the film was built up to such high expectation, only to have the ending leave you thinking “That’s it?” However, there are subtle moments throughout the movie like conversations with her uncle and a long-lost friend (Julia Taylor Ross) that gives you hints to what is coming.

“Silent House” is a decently-made horror movie with an impressive performance by Elizabeth Olsen and amazing cinematography, but this film can’t avoid the typical horror clichés and the story falters in the third act.

“Silent House”: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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