While The Artist garners all of the critical praise and blockbuster awards, another (mainly) silent film has captivated audience attention in the last week. Silent House had enough unsettling moments to make my wife consider walking out of the theater. This film is brimming with suspense, and the claustrophobic atmosphere and surreal setting, coupled with a star-making performance by Elizabeth Olsen, mark this as one of the better horror films I've seen in the theater in a long time.
Roger Moore and Roger Ebert both discussed the fact that audiences seemed encouraged to interact with the film. It is that kind of movie, and we saw the same thing happen when we attended. A loud group in the back of the theater contributed more dialogue to the proceedings than the writers of the film, and that kind of sucked, but it didn't detract too much from the film.
The first two acts are excellent. That shot of Olsen running outside of the house was pure frenzied release. Awesome job of visual storytelling.
And her performance was chilling. She emoted in such fierce terror through a few scenes that my heart broke for her. She sustained the intensity, and did a great job throughout the film.
The story slides into pure allegory in the third act, and I called the ending at least thirty minutes before the tone of the film shifted. It's pretty telegraphed, but that doesn't lessen the emotional impact any. The monsters here are real, and those final shots made my heart break all over again. The film stops being scary at that point, and it starts being just...just very sad.
I like this as a solid 'B' and I would recommend that horror fans take a look at it in the theater. The walls will creep in on you, and the water stains in the ceiling will begin to look remarkably like toxic mold...