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Silent House


Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Adam Trese, Julia Taylor Ross

Director: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau

Clearly, after Martha Marcy May Marlene, Olsen has a feel for out-of-the-way projects. She certainly has a bundle of acting to do in this chiller which spends almost all of its runtime giving us the hand-held creeps, then throws it all away on an ending few will understand.

Right from the start, however, it's plain that Olsen's character Sarah is a jack or two short of a full deck. From the moment she says that 'school and I don't agree', it's obvious she has problems. So she's the last person, it would appear, to let loose in a spooky old house (with the obligatory power failure), which she and her father (Trese) are clearing out, presumably to use as a holiday home.

Soon enough, Daddy disappears, and Sarah finds herself locked in, seeing spectral figures before discovering her father apparently battered close to death. Ghosts? Intruders? Or neither? There sure is a lot of creeping around in this movie, with the directors initially focused, seemingly, on the heroine's cleavage rather than the scares.

They soon get down to business, however, with mysterious figures appearing from nowhere, and Sarah's uncle (Stevens) coming back to help her - or is he?

All this is quite well stage-managed, but it'll take you 20 minutes afterwards to work out even half of what happens at the end. If the camerawork in this one doesn't hurt your head, in fact, the plot assuredly will.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour by deluxe.
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 30 Apr 2012