What I'm Watching: Silent House
Yeah yeah, I know, where's the review posts? I'm getting to them! Someday! I'm in the midst of a full Trisking review, and took a break to hit up the theatres before Silent House was eaten up by the Hunger Games.
So, Silent House!
If you haven't heard, this movie is...well, no one cares about the plot. They care about the gimmick. That being the plan to make this movie look like it was filmed in one long take. They did some clever edits so sections were only ten minutes long or so, and if you're vigilant, there are some obvious points where the edits must have been made. I've seen some complaints that the movie is a fraud, and should have been one long take, but c'mon. They got the effect down. There was no need to REALLY do it in one long take. Leaving room for real edits let them take a breather, reset, and wouldn't blow the ENTIRE movie if someone flubbed a line at the 80 minute mark. I am more than pleased with the results. You get stuck with one character through pretty much the entire thing as the movie plays out in real time, the terror ramping up, and when characters leave the frame, you have NO idea what they're doing or what might happen. It is an intriguing experiment, and I felt it really worked for this movie. Being stuck with Sarah, going through what she goes through really makes for a different experience.
Now, the *actual* plot. Sarah, her father, and uncle, are at her childhood vacation home, and cleaning the place up to finally sell it, and things start to go wrong and get creepy and weird. I'm not going to get into spoilers, because even though the big twist revelation might be a bit obvious, at the same time I really liked how it was handled. Because it's all one take, there are no flashbacks, there's no real room for villainous solliloquies, you literally have to get what is going on in a few quick moments. They don't hit you over the head with it, and once it all clicks, it is a mostly satisfying, "OH!" moment. Not so much out of surprise, but out of just working, and actually making sense with the hints dropped during the previous 75 minutes. The movie works because of it's subtlety.
The cast was amazing. No, check that. Elizabeth Olsen is AMAZING. The others are pretty good too. She really makes you feel for Sarah's plight, which is good since the camera is on her for the entire movie, and you have to be in her corner for this entire film. She's believable, she gives good scaredy face, and she is not uneasy on the eyes. *cough*
I have a few nits to pick, and would like some more chances to see the movie again, but for the most part, I gotta say it was good. An afternoon well spent. I'd say go see it if you could, but now you must wait for the DVD.
My biggest disappointment is that the marketing felt like it was going to be a bit more supernatural, and things turn out to be a bit more human in nature, yet still off the beaten path. It's like the marketing for Red Eye all over again.
I quite loved how the entire thing was shot. Almost all the lighting is done with source lighting, as far as I could tell. Lanterns, candles, flashlights, what light leaks through the boarded up windows. Which I love the exposition dump that vandals smashed all the windows, so they all had to be boarded up, so as to not have outside lighting interfering with trying to fake a single take. There's also some nice metaphor worked in with the house itself, as there's a mold infestation that is eating it away from the inside out.