Monday, March 12, 2012

Silent House in 250 Words or Less

(spoilers ahoy) Elisabeth Olsen has a wonderful face that staring at for extended periods of time is just a pleasure to do - all that space around her giant eyes is just a playground for light and shadow. And in a movie as reliant upon staring at Elizabeth Olsen's face in light and in shadow, Silent House has its pleasures. The leisurely set-up, the music-less soundtrack, I found it effective. I liked the way the single camera gimmick forced scares to elongate - instead of jump cuts that I am so tired of, we get moments where Elizabeth screams about something and then we have to wait for the camera to find what it is she's screaming at, so it becomes this double-punch; it gives everything an odd arrhythmic beat that kept me off-balance. 

But then it starts unravelling its story and it all falls to crap. Why couldn't this just be a simple "There's a squatter in the basement who wants us gone!" horror movie? That is a terrifying thing, and as long as the movie pretends that's what it is the movie's got heat. But no, it decides it has to go up its own ass with hallucinations and incest and ghosts and rape-rooms and none of the last half an hour works, except to undo anything we might have appreciated about the start. It's one of those twists (like the otherwise brilliant High Tension) that puts a pox on the whole shebang. Watch Them instead.

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