This was actually a tough one to decide. First off, check out the reviews for the original film, The Silent House, and then give Silent House a look. I’ll give you a minute. Okay, ready for this one? It’s rare that a remake is so faithful to the original film, while still being a very different entity. Both films take place in real time, both films are supposed to be one continuous shot, and it’s hard to deny that the films look almost identical. It’s the different takes on the story that helped me choose the final winner.
I’ll have to give the cinematography award to the original. The film has a much better look to it, although it can be quite dark. The camera is in focus for the majority of the time, and it’s not bouncing all over the place. The remake suffers from shaky cam syndrome. Instead of sitting back and letting us watch Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah, the camera follows her so closely that you’d think it was strapped to her. If she runs, the camera runs, and there’s no attempt to steady the shot. The original allows the camera to come to rest while Laura (Florencia Colucci) races around. Instead of leaving the viewer disoriented, we get to witness her fear as we should.
Now, I don’t enjoy judging the acting skills from foreign films. Since I don’t speak the language, I find it hard to pick up the subtle differences. Unless someone is really overacting, I’m not really going to notice if they’re doing a bad job. This is a bit easier here because both female leads spend most of the time screaming, crying, or hiding in fear. Elizabeth Olsen easily wins out there. Florencia Colucci does a great job, but Olsen does it better. It’s much more convincing and painful, and she handles the twist at the end better than Colucci as well. That’s quite the challenge when that twist almost brings both films to an end.
It’s the story that is the deciding factor, and it’s also the one point that I really can’t talk about. What kind of sick person would go and reveal the twist, even if it is pretty bad. In the original, the final revelation is a bit confusing and there is almost no explanation for what has happened. The remake offers a much more satisfying, and powerful, twist. It still ends up being a cliche that should be taken out to pasture, but it’s not about whether it’s good, it’s about which film does it better. Hands down, that’s the remake.
The strangest thing is that it seems like not many people realize this is a remake. I actually heard someone on a podcast say that this film had been 8 years in the making. That doesn’t even make sense when the original film only came out in 2010. It won’t make much of a difference that this is a remake though, because it’s actually better than the original. Much of that credit goes to Elizabeth Olsen. Her performance elevates the film just enough to make it passable. The change to the story and the acting of Olsen means Silent House wins this round.