In Gustavo Hernandez's La casa muda, or en inglés The Silent House, audiences are treated to a movie with a single, 79-minute take - a gimmick, yes, but an ambitious gimmick nonetheless. Unfortunately, as with so many movies based on a gimmick, the filmmakers forget the basic rule of film: entertain the audience.
The Silent House could aptly be named "The Boring House", because it is one of the most mind-numbing, boring horror movies ever put to film. To make matters worse, the sole protagonist - Laura - is one of the dumbest, most worthless characters ever. Lastly, the movie comes packaged with a terribly absurd twist.
In The Silent House, Laura and her father spend the night in a house they are to fix up for sale. After hearing suspicious sounds upstairs, Laura's father goes up to see what's going on - and doesn't come back. Laura then finds herself trapped in a house with a mysterious killer.
And she spends the next hour and a half looking at walls, photographs and bookshelves, seemingly unconcerned about the fact that a man could jump out of the shadows at any given moment to slice her from limb to limb.
Filming a horror movie in one continuous take is a cool idea. In fact, it could work given the right story and filmmakers. Hernandez and screenwriter Oscar Estevez are not those filmmakers, however. Florencia Colucci, who plays Laura, tries her hardest to exude fear and panic, but the actions the filmmakers make her do contradicts with everything the character would be thinking or feeling.
In one moment, Laura might hear something in the next room. Or she might be outright attacked. And yet the next, having fled a few feet, she resumes her aimless search of the contents of the house, never sharing with the audience what she's looking for. Her actions are befuddling, even hilarious, as she constantly turns her back on the places from which the killer would most naturally appear.
Within a few minutes, Laura's survival is no longer of interest. If anything, there's only anticipation for the moment she gets killed.
Unfortunately, very little happens in The Silent House. There are some footsteps, a few moments where the killer appears to attack - only to disappear just as quickly - and a few tense seconds. But mostly Hernandez fills the film with filler, with Laura moving from one room to the next with no sense of dread or tension. Hernandez is completely incapable of making his gimmick suspenseful.
It's challenging to discuss the ending without revealing spoilers, but suffice to say The Silent House has a lackluster twist that makes little sense and isn't even remotely satisfying.
The Silent House is a novel idea executed so poorly that the very thought of watching it is much scarier than the actual production. Don't even consider watching this boring waste of time.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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