Movie Review: Why Were Audiences So Outraged by Safe House?

It’s odd that the CinemaScore rating for Silent House, a more than decent gimmicky scare picture that opened last Friday, is an "F" — suggesting that critics like me are more excited by formal inventiveness than most of the film-going public. The gimmick here is that the camera follows the main character, Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), for the entirety of the film, beginning with a striking descent as she sits on a rock staring pensively at the water and finishing … I’m not saying just yet. There are a few discreet edits in what follows but as Sarah helps her father (Adam Trese) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) clean their old summer house (mysteriously without power or light) and prepare it for sale, the takes go on and on, with no time for Olsen — or the audience — to decompress, exhale. We’re essentially marooned with the girl as the creaks and footsteps and thumps begin, staring out into the darkness with her, staggering and swerving with her, deprived of a larger perspective. With its distant, disharmonious, ambient score that seems to be operating on another level of reality, the film can make you, like its protagonist, sick with fear. Read More...


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