Tag Archives: Sophia

Grizzly Review: Silent House


Memories and dreams have a fascinating way of surfacing themselves through what’s known as a “trigger”. For instance, it’s been proven that a person who has a panic attack is susceptible to have another one if put in the exact same geographical location of where the first one occurred, regardless of the emotions currently expressed in that place. I, myself, have had some experience with this, and it’s very odd to be in a place where something unpleasant has happened to you. Even though you’re no longer in any danger, you almost get the feeling that the place itself is going to attack you.

Silent House takes this premise, and essentially capitalizes on the fear that comes with remembrance. Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), a beautiful girl in her early twenties, is moving out of her childhood home. With help from her father, John (Adam Trese), and her uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens), they plan to be out of the house as soon as possible. John and Peter take some pictures of a hole in the wall chewed out by rats, and after arguing with each other, Peter storms out angry.

After a few minutes, an old friend, Sophia (Julia Taylor Ross) comes by and catches up with Sarah who doesn’t even remember her. Her and Sophia make plans to hang out before she leaves, with Sarah agreeing. Before she creepily rides off, Sarah assures Sophia that she remembers her. Sophia simply says, “I know you do. How could you not?” and rides off. When she goes back in the house, she hears a loud bang, and her and her father go up to investigate. This, my good people, is where the madness begins.

If you’ve heard of Silent House, you’ve probably heard of the method they used to shoot it. One take. The whole movie is one take. Supposedly. Elizabeth Olsen herself has said that there are thirteen hidden edits in the film. I’m not sure if that means added visual effects in post, or what, but considering some of the lens changes in certain scenes, I doubt it was actually all filmed in one take. Still, Silent House succeeds due to its deliberate plotting, excellent tension, and incredible ending.

The whole film is, in fact, a metaphor for rape. This is where the spoilers come. The end of the film reveals that both Sarah’s father and uncle molested her as a child, taking pictures with a Polaroid camera. The reason I mentioned the use of the camera before was for this exact reason. During that scene, Sarah’s face is subtly uncomfortable. It’s not the most obvious thing in the world, but it’s there. In fact, every step, every shot, every turn, look, jump, and scream has a purpose.

I’ve been listening about how great Elizabeth Olsen is for almost an entire year, now, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen her in a movie. She completely exceeded my expectations and totally blew me away. If that girl doesn’t win an Oscar by the end of the 2010s, I might just lose my mind. Her portrayal of a mental breakdown through recollection is one of the best performances I’ve seen recently, and the amount of terror that is evident in her entire body makes up for the lack of any real scares in the actual film.

Silent House is more of a psychological thriller-mystery as opposed to just plain horror, which I actually appreciate. It’s more concerned with telling a story than actually scaring you. That’s not to say that it isn’t creepy, because it is. It really is, but screenwriter Laura Lau was much more fascinated with the psyche of a rape victim almost twenty years after the abuse. The character of Sarah could just as well have been the stereotypical dumb girl trapped in the house. Usually in these films, there’s an easy way out, but the protagonist is just too stupid to see it. This is not the case, because Sarah’s fear is not only genuine, but it’s also helpless enough for us to see that there really is no way out. She’s as stuck in the house as she’s going to get, raising the stakes as well as our heart rate.

But if there’s any other “character” in the film that brings almost as much emotion as Sarah, it’s cinematographer Igor Martinovic. The stunning and frankly breathtaking visuals of Silent House serve as a character on its own. The particular sequence that really got me was when Sarah escapes the house about halfway through the film, and she’s just sprinting for dear life from the place. I’ve never seen anything like that before and it really just blew me away.

There are many interpretations one can make from the film, but one of the more divided opinions is that of Sophia. Some say she was real, others claim she wasn’t. Personally, I think that Sophia serves as an alter-ego of sorts to Sarah who entered her mind when her father and uncle raped her, but I guess I can’t be sure. I’m almost tempted to go back and watch Silent House again to see if I can catch some of the little subtleties I may have missed.

The negative reviews are expected for an art-house flick with such a heavy subject, but in all honesty, I loved that Silent House worked strictly as metaphor. Nothing more, nothing less. Silent House is truly unlike any horror film I’ve seen recently, and for that, I’m very appreciative.  The obviously misleading ads are going to get the asses in the seats, but getting them to stay there will be quite difficult, which is disappointing considering how much American audiences crave something new. As a loose remake of the 2010 Spanish-language film The Silent House, this remake changes the premise up a little bit, and adds an art-house twist that makes it all the more inviting. But this is one front door you don’t want to walk in to.

4/5 Bears

The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 7 – “Pretty Much Dead Already”

RECAP AND REACTION: I still feel terrible for Rick. Even in the opening scene he looks somber and morose. I want to give him a hug and tell him everything is going to be okay. The first line in the episode: Glenn tells everyone that the barn is full of walkers. This obviously begins a fight. Shane says that the walkers need to be taken care of or they need to leave the land and head out. Sophia is still out there, dead or alive, and Carol and Daryl say that they cannot leave yet. Rick wants to wait to talk to Hershel because they are guests in his home and they cannot just kill his “sick” loved ones.

Rick goes to talk to Hershel and explains to him that the way they see walkers differs. Rick explains that the way the world is out there is not how Hershel saw it on TV when things first happened. He also tells Hershel that Lori is pregnant. Rick says that either they survive at the farm or they die out with the walkers.

Rick tells Shane that he talked to Hershel and that they are still negotiating. This is the first time that I have ever felt bad for Shane. Rick tells Shane that Lori is pregnant and Shane congratulates him. It is obvious that Shane is broken up by it. He doesn’t know that Rick knows about him and Lori. He clearly has questions.

Maggie pleads the group’s case when she overhears the conversation between Hershel and Rick. She told him that he has changed, and that he taught her differently. This conversation is interrupted and Hershel goes to get Rick for help. Two of the walkers who he knew got stuck in a local marsh. Hershel tells Rick that if his people are going to stay, he needs to treat the walkers like human beings.

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The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 5 – “Chupacabra”

RECAP: In the beginning of the episode, Shane and Rick are walking together around the woods looking for Sophia. It is hard to see them together and not think about Laurie being pregnant! I was almost hoping that the Laurie/Shane situation would get brought up hile they were walking, but no such luck. Shane did mention that he wanted to call off the search for Sophia, which pissed Rick off.

When Daryl is out looking for Sophia, he finds her doll near a swamp area. He falls into the swamp, and punctures his side with his arrow. It was awesome to see how realistic the blood spreading through the water looked. Just a minor detail that you might not even notice, unless it were done improperly. As he tried to climb out of the ditch, he fell again. He saw Merle, his brother, who talked to him and basically told him he was the outcast of the group, and only his brother would ever understand him. Merle was just a hallucination, but when Daryl awoke there was a zombie enjoying a taste of Daryl’s shoe. Watching Daryl crush the walker’s skull was grotesque to say the least.The Merle/Daryl situation is oddly similar to that of Dexter/Harry or Dexter/Brian on my other favorite show “Dexter”.

As the ladies are getting things prepared for dinner, the boys and Andrea are outside by the RV. Daryl begins limping up to them from afar, and they are under the impression that he is a walker. Although Rick, Shane, Glenn, and T-Dog went to get closer, Andrea shot him in the head, sniper style.

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The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 4 – “Cherokee Rose”

Mega-recap: In last week’s episode, Otis died (thanks, Shane…) and Carl survived a risky surgery. Shane made up a particularly disturbing story about Otis telling him to go on without him, and sacrificing himself to that Shane could make it back to the farm with the tools necessary for Carl’s surgery. What really happened was that Shane shot Otis in the leg, turning him into a zombie feast. Lori admitted to her husband Rick that she didn’t want Carl to suffer anymore, and if he didn’t survive, it might be better for him in the long run. In the situation where Lori had to make the decision between letting Carl die peacefully, or having him go through surgery (before the tools showed up) she chose to have the surgery performed.Sophia was still missing at the end of last week’s episode.

This week “Cherokee Rose” began with the rest of the crew meeting up at Hershel’s farm. Carl woke up from his surgery, and soon after fell asleep. The group gave Otis a symbolic funeral service outside, in which Shane was asked to speak on his behalf. Shane spouted off some bullshit about Otis’s last words. Shane is slowly becoming a villain. Why is he still there again?

Daryl decides to head back into town to look for Sophia. Due to all of the blood he’s given to his son, Rick cannot go along. Shane confronts Lori about whether she meant that she wanted him to stay with the group or not, and she of course said she meant it. Great. More Shane.

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The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 2 “Bloodletting” Recap & Review

RECAP: In the beginning of the newest episode of The Walking Dead “Bloodletting”, it flashes back to before the outbreak. Rick has been shot in the line of duty, and Shane goes to tell Laurie. She is at Carl’s school and tells him about it when he gets out.

Flash Forward: Rick is carrying his son Carl and running, because as we know from the last episode, Carl has been shot. The man who accidentally shot Carl tells Rick to take him to Hershel and he will help his boy. This is the introduction of Hershel Greene and his family.

The group is still looking for Sophia, although at this point, they are all very worried. The group in the woods heard one single gunshot (the one that hit Carl), and do not yet know why it was fired. Meanwhile, back at the car, T-Dog needs antibiotics because he clearly has a bad infection. He sliced his skin wide open on a metal shard in the previous episode.

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The Walking Dead: Season 2 Premiere “What Lies Ahead”

RECAP: In the beginning of this premiere episode “What Lies Ahead”, the clan begins heading towards Fort Bennett. Since we already know that most of Season two will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, I assume that is where Fort Bennett is. The group has split up and are taking separate vehicles.

On their way, they come across a vast area of abandoned vehicles, a “graveyard” if you will, and the RV breaks down. The group goes through the vehicles, all the while trying to keep a lookout for the walking dead. Once a zombie is spotted, Rick notices that there are dozens of them coming towards the area where they broke down. The group quickly runs underneath nearby vehicles for protection. May I just take this time to say that the makeup/effects team has clearly reached their very highest potential. I cannot believe how realistic and terrifying these things look.

During this, Andrea gets attacked in the bathroom of the RV, but manages to not only refrain from getting bitten, but manages to kill a walker with a screwdriver… to his eye. T-Dog cut himself on one of the cars, dripping blood everywhere. Although zombies were obviously attracted by this, Daryl throws a dead body on top of himself and T-Dog, and this keeps them from attacking. Sadly, little Sophia is chased by walkers into the woods. Rick tells her exactly where to head for, and he kills the two walkers.

I am sure you remember Shane’s mishap with Lori in Season 1. When Shane and Lori are alone, Shane tells her that he is going to be veering from the group. He is fixing himself up a new ride, and he is leaving the pack.

When Rick and Daryl are in the woods looking for Sophia, they find a walker with skin caught in his teeth. Daryl opens his stomach with a knife and they dive in. They gut him. I have to say that this part made me slightly nauseous. It was the most disgusting thing I think I have ever seen… and I have seen some pretty gnarly stuff. As it turns out, it was a Woodchuck.

Against her wishes, Andrea’s gun was taken by Dale. He said he was not comfortable with her having it, and frankly, I understand why. When I first saw her working on her gun in the RV, I figured she was going to kill herself, since that was what she was going to do at the CDC last season.

Continue reading The Walking Dead: Season 2 Premiere “What Lies Ahead”