The film opens with one of the best, most jarring sequences I’ve probably ever seen. Great cinematography and wonderful contrasting colours. The film then “begins” in a more traditional manner yet still rather spooky. It’s like a drag race instead of the slow burn that I was expecting. We don’t know who’s who, what’s what, or when’s when…but we are full pedal to the metal from the opening sequence…but this sprint of a start quickly loses some steam.
Things calm down as we head into the first act and meet our cast of characters; protagonists Jack (Tom Zembrod) and Amanda Harms (April Hartman). Reeling from the recent death of their daughter, Sarah (Savannah Solsbery), the couple move into a new home in a new town to try to attempt a fresh start. While the relationship is obviously strained, Jack truly seems to be (initially) trying to make a better life for his wife, who seems to be the one suffering the most, slowly unravelling thread by thread. We are left wondering—as the film progresses—whether Amanda is simply unable to deal with her grief and this trauma is causing a mental breakdown, or if there is something more sinister at play; forces of a supernatural nature that mean to harm the Harms.
The pacing changes completely as we hit the second act. The film revolves mostly around Amanda and her paranoid antics with hauntings that may or may not be real. The performances are great though and the story slowly fleshes out. There’s definitely more than meets the eye here and we get to play with themes of infidelity, broken marriages, and the like. I liked the drama and enjoyed the writing but felt very disconnected from the horror that I was supposed to be watching. The film passes through various moods, not staying one thing. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.
The score is gentle and doesn’t try to build to jump scares and the usual cheese. It is mostly sad and reflective of the loss the couple is dealing with. There are some moments that are necessary to build tension but it isn’t particularly noticeable unless you are actively listening…until we get to the paranormal action. Here the score does a decent attempt at scaring the crap out of you. I’d say that it was on the good side of what is considered standard fare but not necessarily stand out. There is one scene where it steals the show but saying which would be spoilery.
The film uses heavy colourization in some scenes, particularly red, to emphasise intense and uncontrollable feelings like love and romantic passion but also violence and betrayal. It is film school 101 and somewhat unnecessary but I’m not going to nit-pick style choices. It kind of worked for the setting and added a sense of surrealism which was most likely the point and made for a nice change.
The last act is horror again but not quite like the opening scenes. It is almost as if the film is really trying to figure out what it wants to be. I’m reminded of indie producer Jeremiah Kipp’s comment (paraphrasing) that an indie film shouldn’t surpass the typical one-and-a-half-hour runtime and if it does, the director probably thinks they’re making a better film than they actually are. I think here that this comment holds true. Silhouette would have made a better 1.5-hour movie than the near-two-hour one that it is.
The acting overall was great. Both leads were a cut above the usual indie stars. The writing was good, as was the editing and all the other typical technical tasks. It was a well-made film that took too long to climax and when it does, it leaves you more sad than scared. This is a film for fans of psychological horrors and those who like their films filled with emotional intelligence. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Poster and trailer below.
Links to the film:
Silouette can be purchased from here and has also been rebranded as A Haunting In Texas for its DVD release on November 17th. It will be available in Wal-Mart and is also available for pre-order on Amazon.
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