"Silent House": Home Invasion + Screaming White Girl = Surprisingly Tolerable

| Fri Mar. 9, 2012 2:20 PM EST
Elizabeth Olsen getting scared senseless in "Silent House" (2012).

Silent House
Open Road Films
88 minutes

There are three things in life of which we will—unfortunately—always have too much: AM talk radio, vampire lit, and horror movies about pretty young white girls who get chased around their houses by deranged, one-dimensional killers. Silent House fits snugly into that third category.

The no-frills horror movie is the American remake of La Casa Muda, a badass 2010 Uruguayan film noted for its unrelenting intensity and stylistic novelty. The new version kicks off with an unmistakable been-there-done-that vibe: Sarah and her father John travel to their lakeside vacation home to take care of some much-needed renovation before the house is put back on the market. The creaky, borderline-dilapidated property is located in the middle of nowhere—no cell phone reception, phone lines, internet, or contact with the outside world. Almost all the home's circuits are kaput. Nightfall is fast approaching.

Before you even begin mouthing the words "Hey, I've seen this one befo...." a man shrouded in shadows busts into the house, incapacitates John, and starts lumbering menacingly after Sarah.

Thus begins the white-girl-being-chased-through-the-house-athon: Sarah spends the next hour-plus making quick getaways into decrepit and dusty rooms, with the faceless stalker in hot pursuit. For practically the entire film, we watch Sarah—scared out of her skin—panting and scampering away from the invader, suspicious noises, forbidding darkness, loud footsteps, unexplained bloodstains, and even the apparitional figure of a little kid. You name it, this pretty young white girl is screaming and running away from it.

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