‘Silent House’ fails to frighten audiences

(Image courtesy of Elle Driver)

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen

Pitchforks: 2.5/5

“Silent House” has the standard set-up for a horror movie: an isolated, boarded up house on the lake without phones or electricity. The only disturbing component, though, of the film is the plot’s misdirection and the unexpected, pointless twist.

The remake of the 2010 Uruguayan film follows a father and daughter’s retreat to the family lake house to box it up before selling. Their arrival brings a sequence of terrifying events when Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) begins to hear noises and realizes the key to the front door is missing.

Suspense mounts, but there is a brief scene of relief when Sarah escapes to see Uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) arrive in time to offer help for Sarah and her injured father, John,  (Adam Trese) who is still trapped in the house.

That respite evaporates as soon as he makes the heroic, yet unwise decision to re-enter the house and personally rescue his brother, leaving distressed Sarah to wait in the car.

The irony continues as she ends up back in the house trying to escape her perpetrator and has visions that result in the movie’s twisted ending.

“Silent House” has every cliché a movie should avoid. Chilling build-up music indicates the elemental scary scenes, but too much anticipation bores the audience and takes away the impact when the moment actually occurs.

There are clearly blunders in the execution of the plot when the viewers laughed during the supposed nerve-racking scenes. The blood dripping from the walls at one point seem to have no significance — almost as if the script simply needed a few more pages to add time.

Audiences will be shocked to discover who the killer is, but dissatisfied at the lack of creativity.

As for the acting, Olsen deserves credit for her expressions of genuine fear and for making her cheesy lines sound meaningful.

John and Uncle Peter do not contribute much prominence to the plot, as they are either chasing after each other or unconscious. John and Uncle Peter rotate in their role as the victim of an unknown intruder who mysteriously travels around the house without a sound. The horror film finishes, leaving several unanswered questions about characters who appear in the beginning and are never explained.

In the end, the only takeaway from “Silent House” is understanding the importance of a cell phone and a working light switch.

Reach the reporter at mkthomp5@asu.edu

Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.