A ponderously slow psychological drama packaged as a horror film
With Martha Marcy May Marlene, Elizabeth Olsen proved herself to be a young actress with great potential by persuasively playing a refugee haunted by her experiences with a murderous cult. Silent House features her in a disappointingly similar role, this time as a teenage girl suffering memories of an abusive relationship.
Packaged like a horror film, but actually aiming to be a psychological drama, Silent House opens with Sarah (Olsen) and her family arriving to clean up a lakeside property. Once inside, Sarah finds herself alone and imagines that she is being stalked, only to find that her memories of past terrors are getting confused with her current, equally frightening, reality.
Based on Gustavo Hernandez’s 2010 Uruguayan film of the same name, and directed by the Open Water team of Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, Silent House retains the original film’s gimmick of appearing to be shot in one continuous take. With a few hidden edits, the illusion just about works, but the on-screen action is far too ponderously slow to maintain the tension, despite Olsen’s undoubted effectiveness as a scream-queen.
General release from Fri 4 May.