Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Horror, Thriller
  • 2011

Silent House

Film4 Silent House


Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) begins to suspect that she, her father and uncle are not alone in their creepy old summerhouse. Horror remake notable for giving the appearance of having been shot in one take


Part home-invasion horror, part Repulsion-style psychodrama, Silent House (from the creators of 2003's Open Water), is a remake of Uruguay's 2010 La Casa Muda, which was edited to give the illusion that it was shot in one continuous, unbroken shot. Unlike its famous single-shot forefather, Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (whose real-time conceit it also shares), Silent House doesn't stick to one relatively modest apartment, instead preferring to rove all over a large house, from attic to cellar and into the grounds surrounding this remote homestead.

There's something about houses as spaces that invite this kind of internalised horror. The German word for uncanny, 'unheimlich', translates more directly as 'un-homely'. An Englishman's home is his castle; invasion is a personal attack. Home is where the heart is; a heartless home is a literal expression of the unheimlich. It's these types of tensions that Silent House plays on, initially with a some success, largely due to the performance of Elizabeth Olsen, whose character is the keystone on which the film's structure rests.

Unfortunately, at a certain point about an hour in, it all starts to unravel, and, should you glance at the time, you'll realise there's still about half an hour left to go, and that there's simply no way to spin out any logical conclusion to what has gone before into a half an hour's worth of satisfying narrative. And so it proves.

In a nutshell

Elizabeth Olsen continues to emerge as one of the most interesting young actresses around, but she can't do much with the final act of this frontloaded exercise in technique over story.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Thunder Island

    Thriller. A hit man (Gene Nelson) is hired to kill a former Caribbean dictator. He abducts a couple and their boat to reach the despot's island, but then his plans go badly wrong.

    On Film4: 6 Oct 11:00AM

  • Film4

    The Enchanted Forest

    An old man raises a young boy who became lost in the woods, teaching him about life and nature

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Elena Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film festival on her five favourites of the fest. The Lobster Yorgos Lanthimos' success in realising the usually disastrous combination of farci

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Manuela Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film Festival on five favourites from the fest. The Witch What if the sorceresses and deadly spells in which people believed so fervently in th

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register