The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 86 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens
Directed by: Chris Kentis & Laura Lau
Music by: Nathan Larson
Written by: Laura Lau
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 24, 2012
When Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) finds herself sealed inside her family's secluded lake house with no contact to the outside world, panic soon turns to terror as events become increasingly ominous.
The trailer for Silent house reminded me a “The Strangers” which is a decent horror/thriller so while it didn’t seem to be anything new it still piqued my interest. The movie is filmed in real time as one single, uninterrupted shot. There isn’t a deep plot associated with the story and the setup is pretty straight forward. Introductions are brief as things open with the central character Sarah and her father at their lake house preparing it for sale with the help of her father’s brother Uncle Peter. The house has no power/lights and the lake location has no cell service. Sarah has an encounter at the front door/porch with a young woman named Sophia who says that they used to play together around the lake when they were young. She recounts the games they used to play as children while mixing in questions about what they are doing at the house and why. It is clearly obvious that Sarah doesn’t distinctly recollect their association but she embarrassingly goes along agreeing to meet up with Sophia later than evening to hang out.
Uncle Peter has a minor tiff with Sarah’s dad and leaves. Right after this is where things kick off. Sarah and her father are downstairs and she hears a noise coming from upstairs that sounds like someone else is in the house. She asks him to investigate. Things escalate quickly and Sarah finds herself trapped/locked in the house with someone that stalks her every move. Unsure of who/why is after her she scrambles to get out only to find that getting out of the house won’t solve her problem.
This had good potential and I liked the idea of shooting it in real time which worked well for the most part although those that are bothered by shaky camera work might disagree. The suspense didn’t prove to be engaging which led to diminished elements of fright. This wasn’t helped by the overtly conventional script. Elizabeth Olsen helped make up for it with a strong performance but the ridiculous ending sucked the life out of any hope for a viable payoff. The end result is a formulaic horror story that wets the appetite but fails to deliver the type of thrills and chills that genre fans hanker for.
The rating is for disturbing violent content and terror.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Silent House comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 mbps.
This a solid high definition video presentation that offers excellent refinement during close ups and crisp delineation visible within objects/backgrounds during mid level camera pans. The color range perfectly sets the film’s tone and has a reserved aesthetic that rarely offers bright, eye catching hues. Rendering is clean and depth is appropriate. Fleshtones keep pace with the look of the rest of the film and have a balmy but natural texture. Spot on contrast yield crisp, bright whites and blacks are stable but slightly elevated which leaves them appearing less dynamic and occasionally flat. I didn’t see this as a problem based upon the visual style of the film. This is a pristine rendering that shows no obvious signs of video related artifacts or anomalies.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack offers detail rich clarity while making use of the entire surround platform to support the film’s thematic elements. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. Dynamic range is good which enriches the authority of low frequency effects contained in the mix. There isn’t perpetual use of the rear channels and subwoofer however when applied the effects are involving enough to elevate suspense. I had hoped for a more aggressive surround sound mix but it would be unfair to say that I was disappointed.
- Feature commentary with co-director Chris Kentis & co-director/screenwriter Laura Lau
- My scenes bookmark feature
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
Silent House is a formulaic horror film that utilizes an unconventional shooting method that worked well enough to keep interest going until that interest was deflated by an abysmal ending. The result is a paint by the numbers horror flick that wets the appetite but fails to deliver the type of thrills and chills that genre fans hanker for. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition video quality, gratifying DTS-HD Master Audio sound and a barebones supplemental offering that consists of a filmmaker audio commentary. Silent House offers few surprises, other than the ending which in this case isn’t a good thing, but if you like thrillers of its type it’s probably not a bad rental when the mood strikes.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package