Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe if it was a little less silent..., 20 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Silent House (Original) [DVD] (DVD)
It's not every day you come across a horror film from Uruguay, so The Silent House immediately has a USP. It has benefitted from a lot of hype and some excellent reviews, so any horror fan will walk in with high expectations.

And for me, these expectations were not met by a long shot. Which, ironically, is what this is - La Casa Muda was made in one continous take and is one of the first films to do so. While this is a novelty, it hardly brings anything new to the table. The tagline says invitingly "real fear in real time", which is all well and good but it fails to mention the long scenes of the main character, Laura, wandering aimlessly and snivelling. The continuous take gimmick also has a massive, gaping flaw, and that is that the actors could not have been given very much direction. The result is a bit of a mess, with actors who clearly look lost in long, sprawling scenes. There were times when the characters motives were unclear due to the "silent" element of the film, and it really could have done with more and better dialogue or at least better mime.

It's not that I thought Colucci was necessarily a bad actress: she leads as well as she can, and at times I felt genuinely worried for her. But those times were few and far between. I find that if a character's actions are unexplainable the story falls completely flat, and Laura spends the majority of the film (with the same expression throughout) examining pictures on the walls of a house that for all she knows is inhabited by a MURDERER. It's no great spoiler to say that she finds her father dead very early on, with little explanation as to why and how it happened (certainly, no supernatural explanation is provided) and her first reaction - rather than to, say, go outside, scream, or phone the police - is spend the next 20 minutes or so shakily investigating the upstairs rooms, with very little result. It takes her a rediculously long time to even pick up a weapon, and at some points she was acting so stupidly I actually wanted her to die.

Also, are there no mobile phones in Uruguay? Just saying.

There is a fairly decent twist, which, if you are observant, you'll probably see from a mile off. It felt like a bit of a cop out as it has been done before, and it provides some stinking great plot holes which I can't go into without ruining it. There are also some great jumps and set pieces (the polaroid scene comes to mind) but, if like me you feel that jumps do not make a scary film, this adds little to the story. Stay put after the credits as there is a particularly nice sequence to be seen, which for me was the best scene in the entire film. The whole thing is shot beautifully - with so little budget to work with you can't help but admire the final result.

All in all, worth skimming through to experience it, but La Casa Muda did feel like a bit of a waste of time. Some critics have called it a "Uruguayan [REC]", but don't touch it with a barge-pole if that's what you're expecting. The tension is shattered by unexplainable motives and actions, and it seems to me like the filmmakers couldn't quite decide if they wanted to make a chilling ghost story or a survival slasher. The result is something that doesn't quite satisfy either genre, and will probably leave you shouting at the screen in frustration.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Sep 2011 21:39:21 BDT
Bookwoman says:
I completely agree. Maybe it was the fault of the marketing and packaging, which leads you to believe it's a ghost story. Just because it was filmed in one take doesn't make it particularly good, and it means there's a lot of aimless wandering about. It was saved by a few scary moments and the revelation at the very end, but very disappointing overall. I suspect the critics liked the fact that it's obscure and Uruguayan and so praised it more than it deserved!
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