SILENT HOUSE

Mostly worth seeing for its dazzling technique, this movie isn't quite
scary, but makes an honest effort. There's a little bit of REPULSION
and a lot of FUNNY GAMES as pedigree, though not enough of the
former's inner craziness and the latter's sheer dread. The tagline
exhorts us to “experience 88 minutes of fear in one terrifying take”.
It seemed to me there were a handful of places where a cut was made,
but no question the filmmakers did an extraordinary amount of planning
and rehearsal to create the illusion of uninterrupted flow. That's
especially effective when we realize the story has progressed from
daylight to darkest night. There's only one spot where I jumped in my
seat, an earned thrill which delighted the audience — although that
audience broke into laughter several times, whether derisively or as a
tension reliever I couldn't quite determine. Elizabeth Olsen works
hard, maybe a bit too hard, to convey terror; her acting is
naturalistic but could have been dialed down a bit when she's trying
to keep from losing it. The resolution, a “Twilight Zone”-style twist,
isn't the freshest. Still, this is definitely above-average. — Jeff
Schultz

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