Pumpkin Person rating: 8/10
Another quiet evening inside watching Netflix on a huge-screen high definition TV. I decided to re-watch a film I saw a couple autumns ago: Silent House (2011), a U.S. horror film directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau. A remake of the 2010 Uruguayan film, La casa muda (The Silent House), supposedly based on true events that occurred in a village in Uruguay in the 1940s.
The film begins with a young woman (Sarah) and her dad at a beautiful isolated house overlooking a lake in the middle of fall, with leaves changing colors and scattered all over the lawn. The father seems to be one of those “cool” American dads who is more like a peer than an authority figure. He talks to her about her facebook profile and her dating life, but a lot of work is to be done. They want to sell this old isolated house that they no longer live in, and now only seldom visit.
The dad’s brother, who is Sarah’s uncle also shows up, to help them get ready to move. He’s a young cool uncle that Sarah is so happy to see and can relate to very easily.
But it’s very dark in the house because there’s no electricity.
The father goes downstairs, leaving Sarah and her uncle upstairs in the dark to bond.
And then something terrifying happens.
Sarah stands against the wall and he shines a bright flashlight on her.
“Look at you,” he says warmly. “I can’t believe how grownup you are.”
And she just stands there, and stands there, and stands there… in the darkness of the room smiling under the gaze of her uncle, illuminated only by the flashlight.
This makes me incredibly disturbed. It’s the first clue that we get that there’s something not quite right about this seemingly perfect suburban family.
A little later the doorbell rings and Sarah opens it. It’s a mysterious young woman named Sophie.
“You don’t remember me, do you?” says Sophie sympathetically. Apparently they were playmates when Sarah lived at this isolated house as a child.
Sophie wants to know what Sarah’s up to. Is she in school? Is she working? None of the above. The two young women reconnect on the porch, overlooking the colored autumn leaves and the lake. And then Sophie bikes off into the horizon, leaving Sarah alone in the secluded house with her dad and her uncle.
As the sun begins to set, mysterious and violent events occur in the house.
Is the house haunted?
I don’t want to spoil the ending, so all I will say is that although this film got mediocre reviews, it’s one of my favorite films of all time. I loved the atmosphere, and was deeply moved by the uniqueness and sadness of the story. If you’re an exceptionally sensitive person, this film will speak to you on a level far beyond the cheap scares.