Friday, 29 April 2011

Review - The Silent House (2010 - Dir. Gustavo Hernández)

Made for approximately $6000 this little haunted house film is not too bad. It is based on a real event that happened in Uruguay in the 1940s where a girl and her father go to renovate an old creepy house.

It was filmed in one continuous take in a handheldy style. Well, supposedly. Like Hitchcock's Rope, you can see the joins between takes. The camera points at something completely black and then you're into the next take. I found this brought me out of the film because, as with Rope, you are reminded of the editing process when it happens. If I'm wrong about this and it was filmed in one take I apologise now. However, if you are just using one take you need to make it obvious that there are no hidden cuts to show off your crafty ingenuity.

There are a couple of good jumps and there is a creepy atmosphere. At times, it feels a bit like a haunted house checklist: spooky noises - check, ghostly figures - check, evil looking dolls - check, children's songs being played through an old radio - check, etc. It tries to play with genre staples, such as mirrors, by making you think that something is going to be revealed in one. But it never does. It's good to play with expectations but you have to deliver at some point. 

The twist ending does feel a tad odd compared to what has gone before, it doesn't seem to follow what you have already seen. In fact, the whole film feels like it would have benefitted from more planning at the writing and rehearsal stages. There are quite a few points where the actors are just stumbling about in the dark with torches looking at things in a room with no real motivation. 

Saying all that, I wasn't bored during the film. It was definitely more effective than a CGI saturated blockbuster and all with a tiny fraction of their budgets.

If you like this you could try:
Rec, Subconcious (miniscule budget, may never get released, but quite funny at times), The Haunting (1963)

No comments:

Post a Comment