THE SILENT HOUSE: The Hughes Verdict- A Short Review

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What’s It All About?

Shy, introverted Laura and her jaded father have promised to clean an old friend’s property in order for it to be sold. Travelling deep into the hostile, unforgiving landscape of rural Uruguay, they are to spend the night in an isolated, run down cottage. With no civilisation for hundreds of miles and no electricity or modern conveniences within the property, Laura begins to dread the on coming night. As darkness prevails her father investigates a strange noise from the above floor. When he doesn’t return, Laura has nothing but fear to console her. But She’s not alone. Something is waiting in the shadows, something that knows her worst nightmares.

 

 The Hughes Verdict

Before I wander off into the realms of criticism I need to point out that The Silent House is an effective Uruguayan film that will delight fans of old fashioned horror.  This harks back to the good days of such films like The Haunting in which the scares come from tension and imagination than the need to sell out to CGI effects that lets be honest do not really add anything to the experience.  Every fan of the genre watches a horror film to be scared, not to sit back and go all starry eyed at the latest special 3D effects to come hitting them from the screen.  The Silent House is a film that will get under your skin on many occasions, it will also leave you panting for breath at times as you cling on to the arm of your chair in hope that nothing jumps out of the dark shadows.  The film is good horror readers, but the truth is, it could have been a whole lot better.

The story is based on true events that happened in the 1940’s and the big gimmick and selling point of the whole film is that all of its 78 minutes of running time is shot in one continuous take.  Just writing that makes me realise just what a special achievement this was but then there are a few tiny moments when the film screen goes blank which may make the sceptical of you think that this claim may not be all true.  Filmed on a professional Canon DSLR camera, director Gustavo Hernández’s pulls of a remarkable beautiful film that needs to be watched for that alone.  To create a film where we the viewer take this voyeuristic trip of real time horror is a mouth watering prospect and you can not help but get sucked in right from the off.

Its here while the credits are on screen where we meet Laura (Florencia Colucci) and her dad (Gustavo Alonso) who arrive at a rundown cottage in the middle of a nowhere in order to repair the place since its owner (Abel Tripaldi) has put the place up for sale.  Once settled inside, night falls and the duo decide to catch up on some sleep and start the heavy work in the morning, everything is quiet and calm until the Dad falls asleep in the chair and Laura hears a sound that she at first believes is coming from the outside but soon the noise gets  louder and then louder and it seems to be coming from the room right above her head!  In panic she wakes her father who goes the staircase to check it out, soon Laura hears the cries from her father, a thud on the floor, and a dragging noise and for the next 60 minutes Laura is trapped in a house where things go bump in the night!

 

 

Any Film Fan who wants to see art at work and when I mean art, I am talking about outstanding brilliance then you really need to see this film.  The camera work is totally spell blinding, its a real joy and privilege to watch a master at the top of his game and full credit and applause goes to cinematographer Pedro Luque who does things that you will marvel at.  In this day of age, doing a ghost story without effects is hard, doing one in a film where there are no cuts and just a continuous shot is near impossible but Luque uses bathroom mirrors and special angles that has to be seen to believe.  There is one scene where Laura is standing holding the light and all of sudden we see a figure behind her, then in a blink of an eye its gone.  Really good sir and hats off to you.  The gimmick also serves well because we share this journey with the character right from the off.  We get sucked into this nightmare and the tension it creates is very special and for the majority of the running time it serves up more chills than the much popular and glossy American haunting house blockbuster Insidious and for all those put off my subtitles, then take my advice.  Laura is the main focal character and much of the film is of her on her own in the house trying to survive.  There are hardly no subtitles to speak off, so this is a perfect starter point for those fans who just can not be bothered to read!

So, that is all the good points and now readers its here you can feel a but coming!………

Despite all its best intentions and some downright good scares, The Silent House fails to offer anything new and despite the short running time, the film replays the same scenes over and over and for me it got a bit tiresome.  Yes it was great to see the first couple of really good scares but twenty minutes later and we still see Laura holding the lamp going either back up the staircase or down and that became very frustrating.  The plot never moves on from the start, it seems to get stuck in this loop where there is no direction and fans have a good reason to complain.

Its the plot that brings down the achievements of the film.  There is nothing much to speak of and half way through the watch you will start to want to know what the heck is going on.  I like my horrors to be covered in mystery and intrigue but when we are offered nothing it can become very frustrating and just when we seem to be heading into a home stretch and things start to become clearer, the film offers an absurd twist that damages the whole watch.  I really could not believe that the makers went towards this path and for that reason alone, The Silent House is a film that needs to be seen for its remarkable direction but for its plot, its not a patch on the much superior The Orphanage!

Keep an eye out for Matt Wavish’s Official Review on The Silent House

Rating: ★★★☆☆

[pt-filmtitle]The Silent House[/pt-filmtitle]

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About Ross Hughes 564 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

1 Comment

  1. Yep, got it from Lovefilm on Saturday and will be watching this tonight or tomorrow. I have been waitin ages to see this, can’t wait! Great review as always Ross

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