Sunday, April 27, 2014

Overlooked Film of the Week- "Silent House" (2012)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #54

Silent House
This weekend my girlfriend and I went down to my hometown of Peoria, Illinois to visit my family. My girlfriend's birthday is next weekend and we wanted to carve out some time with my family to celebrate her special day with them too. I actually had some big surprises of my own that came to fruition in the most wonderful of manners. It was a great weekend. While I was playing Mexican Train Dominoes with my girl and the fam, the 2014 Godzilla movie came up in conversation. I explained that I am open-minded about the movie, particularly due to its casting. Elizabeth Olsen came up, and my parents weren't familiar with the first name, but definitely the last name. Elizabeth Olsen is the youngest sibling of the famous Olsen twins, and in my opinion, she's the sibling that has all the talent.

So its true, I love Elizabeth Olsen. She's incredibly talented as an actress, she's cute and she seems to have a good head on her shoulders. Much like Jennifer Lawrence, I like that Olsen is creating a filmography that doesn't tie her up in typecast. Watch any movie in her resume and pay close attention to the characters she plays. The people she plays do not look like each other, she plays a different style of character every time she gets in front of the camera. I think its great that an actress so close to my age is taking her career seriously, that's something you can't say about all of them. She's not a constant, annoying teen in teen comedies, she isn't a balloon-head in comedies, she is careful with her picks and her career is paying off from them.

"Silent House" is a quiet, little addition to her resume. A horror movie that may seem familiar at first glance, but pays off in ways that other "haunted house" movies have not. We meet Sarah (Olsen) at the edge of her home, she seems to be having some private time to herself when a friend she doesn't recognize comes to her house unexpectedly to see her. Sarah doesn't remember her but the friend assures her that they were friends when her and Sarah were young. She eventually leaves, and she goes back into the house to meet up with her uncle and father. They are revamping their house in order to cell it, making it a huge, cluttered landscape. Soon her uncle leaves the house for tools, her father gets knocked out, and a terrified Sarah is seemingly trapped in a huge house with a mysterious stranger.

Sounds familiar right? But do not forget what I said. There is more to this horror film than meets the eye. First of all, the film is great about showing us that less is more. Sure, the modern age may get impatient with type of slow-burn, but for me, it worked just fine. We barely get a glimpse of Sarah's attacker and we barely see what is going on while she is ducking and hiding, but all of that is used to scare us. It is quite harrowing and I loved every moment of it. Second of all, this is a film full of surprises. Its a movie to really pay attention too; pay attention to the dialogue shared between Sarah and her mysterious friend, pay attention to how Sarah talks about her memories, pay attention to the attitudes of the uncle and the father. This will lead to an unforgettable climax that had my jaw hit the floor. There is something quite sinister at the heart of this tale and it shocked me deeply.

I also loved the use of real time in this movie. "Silent House" is 87 minutes long, making the movie take place over 87 minutes out of the day. Much like FOX's "24," "Silent House" uses the "real time" device to near-absolute perfection. Not only that, but the film is shot as one continuous scene. No flashbacks, no camera tricks, no cut aways, the entire film purposely looks as if somebody shot the whole movie with a single camera and never stopped recording. This gives the movie a very disorienting, disturbing atmosphere that was absolutely hypnotic. It seems the crew behind this movie was definitely channeling Alfred Hitchock's "Rope" when they thought of this movie and it payed off for them in spades. The entire cast is effective, and Olsen really digs into her character, making a rather one-dimensional role seem awfully human. Anybody who needs proof that Olsen can handle Scarlet Witch in the upcoming "Avengers: Age of Ultron" can look no further than right here.

Stylish and spooky, "Silent House" is something to watch when the lights are all off!

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