So this movie is a remake of a Uruguayan film called La Casa Muda which I had never heard of before. Which is fair since I also hadn’t ever heard of Silent House before either. It’s much better going in knowing literally nothing about the movie, though, since it makes the little twists and turns a lot more compelling than they otherwise would be. I’ll get into the spoiler territory later but if you want to watch it, I recommend doing so before reading that bit.
The main premise of the movie is that a young girl, Sarah, and her father are trying to pack and fix things up from their vacation home that they are going to sell. The renovation and packing aspect help set the scene really well. We get shots from outside where it is bright and daytime and then go inside where there is no power and the windows are papered over so it gives this stark contrast between the home and the outside world. Which will play into the themes that get explored later in the movie. For now, though, it is sufficient to make things be super creepy and dark and atmospheric.
The movie is shot in such a way as to make it all seem like one continuous take, which they apparently also did in the original Uruguayan version. This has its benefits and its drawbacks. It helps to give you a more immediate feel to the action as we see everything happening in “real time”. That real time also gives you the film makers a better way to mess with things such as making it be dark outside much faster than it would have been with only an hour of time going by. Unfortunately, it also ends up suffering from an extreme case of shaky-cam. It looks very much like it could have been a found footage film if the camera person had been a character.
I’m going to get into some plot territory now so SPOILER ALERT for those that care. The film does a good job of changing the expectations of what’s actually happening. At first it feels like it is going to be a standard haunted house story. When Sarah gets trapped in the house and finds her father knocked out, you get the sense that it is actually a home invader. That then gets flipped around as she starts to see other things and it goes right back to ghosts. Which then finally turns into it actually being repressed memories bubbling to the surface and the trauma manifesting as “ghosts”. The movie ends up dealing with sexual and psychological abuse in a way that isn’t entirely offensive or terrible, though I do usually have a distaste for “nothing supernatural was happening it was all a crazy person” type twist endings.
I’d give this movie a 4 out of 5. It was well done for the most part with only a few real weaknesses. The main problems being the twist ending and the shaky-cam, though even that isn’t nauseatingly bad.
Favorite thing in the movie: The way Sarah continually hides from the invader/ghost by hiding under things, like a small child might do.
Least favorite thing: There is a “friend” that shows up that is never explained if it was real or imaginary and is the only loose thread in the film.