Available on VOD
Directed by Gustavo Hernandez
This is the original Uruguayan film that’s the basis for the Chris Kentis and Laura Lau remake of the same name (previously reviewed on this site).
A father and daughter team up to clean out an old, isolated country house with no electricity and prepare it for sale. Strange noises are heard coming from somewhere upstairs during the night. The father goes to investigate, propelling the two characters into a lamp-lit nightmare as it’s revealed the house has a very dark past. Not only that, there is a third person in the house with lethal intentions stalking them…maybe.
The Silent House is a stripped down haunted house movie known primarily for a technical gimmick. Contrary to some reviews, this film was not shot in one take. Rather, like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, it appears to have been shot in one take. I refer to this as a gimmick because it’s part of a big problem with the film.
While absolutely not done in the “found footage” style, the film confusingly adopts the exact same form of shaky, hand-held camerawork of that subgenre and the end result is more distracting than anything else. The convention of those films is that someone in the film is actually shooting the footage the audience is seeing, which is clearly not the intention here.
The story at the root of the film, ostensibly based on actual events, doesn’t really offer anything fresh and to top it all off has an almost High Tension-level head-scratching twist at the end.
The Silent House, his debut feature film, has garnered enough positive attention to land U.S. distribution and the aforementioned English-language remake, putting Hernandez in a position of relative ease (at least on paper) to make another feature.
With that in mind, The Silent House is ultimately more successful as a business venture than it is as a satisfying genre film.
Let’s hope Gustavo Hernandez’s next film has a lot more substance.