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Film / Silent House

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A 2011 Horror film by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau. It is a remake of the 2010 Uruguayan horror film, The Silent House (La Casa Muda).

Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is staying at a lakeside Victorian house in the country which her father and her Uncle Peter are renovating. After an unsettling encounter with an old childhood friend, she hears a noise upstairs. Her father goes up to investigate it but never comes back. Sarah finds that she's been locked into the house and something else is there, stalking her.

This film contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Sarah was sexually abused as a child by her father and uncle but has repressed the experience.
  • Action Survivor: For the most part, Sarah just runs from one room to the next, acting like any one of us would when being stalked by a killer in a locked house. Except that in this case, Sarah is the killer.
  • All Just a Dream: Sarah was abused as a child. The film is about her taking revenge on her abuser and, to a lesser degree, on the one who knew and took photos and did nothing to stop it.
  • Anti-Hero: Sarah violently kills her tormentors as her mind attempts to piece together the abuse she endured as a child.
  • Chekhov's Armory: Almost all of the implements of violence show up in the film prior to their use.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The tutu and the red locked box are related to Sarah's childhood abuse.
  • Closed Circle: The house is isolated in the country. The landlines haven't been hooked up. There's no cell coverage. The electricity is disconnected due to disuse. The windows are boarded up with plywood due to multiple burglaries. Most of the doors are locked with either padlocks or are older ones that require a key to unlock it from inside.
  • Drop the Hammer: The sledgehammer introduced early in the movie shows up in later scenes including Sarah using it to murder her father.
  • Fan Disservice: While Sarah's cleavage is shown frequently, it's generally marred by the blood and the situation such as when the camera has a direct shot down her shirt, but only because she's leaning over her father's body.
  • Foreign Remake: Of a Uruguayan film.
  • Foreshadowing: Her father's overbearing demeanor and joking "If everyone just did as I said, we wouldn't have a problem!" hint at the dynamic between him and her uncle when it came to abusing Sarah - he was the instigator, while Peter largely looked on and did nothing.
  • Haunted House: By all appearances, the eponymous house, including mysterious apparitions and bleeding walls. Turns out to be a subverted case. All the seemingly supernatural occurrences are a product of Sarah's broken mind as it tries to piece together the trauma she went through.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Largely averted. When all of the lights are out, the audience can barely see anything.
  • Jitter Cam: Used almost universally throughout the movie.
  • The Killer in Me: Sarah is the one who attacked and hid her father, and is the one who kills her father.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are a grand total of four characters in the movie though depending on how you interpret things it could be as few as three or as many as six.
  • The Oner: Unlike the film it is a remake of, it is not a single continuous shot. However, it is composed of only a handful of continuous takes simaliar to the 1948 film Rope.
  • The Place: Obviously.
  • Scare Chord: Repeatedly used to set up both actual scares and CatScares
  • Survival Horror: The film plays out as a live-action version of such, including Sarah's inability to do much other than run away. Subverted, since it turns out she's doing a whole lot more than just running.
  • Twist Ending: Sarah is the killer all along