Movie Review: ‘The Silence’
Director: John R. Leonetti
Cast: Stanley Tucci, Miranda Otto, Kiernan Shipka, Kate Trotter, John Corbett
Plot: A team of cavers discover a species of prehistoric winged creatures who have evolved underground to be blind, but highly responsive to sound. This deadly discovery tears society apart leaving one family fighting to survive.
Review: Filmed at the same time as A Quiet Place but released later we’ve wound up with two films following the same basic premise. If you make noise they can find you and they will kill you. Removing the aesthetic similarities of the creatures isn’t enough to make these films stand out from each other as both are focused on the survival against other people, a post-apocalyptic setting, an adjustment to life and a focus on a family with a deaf daughter.
There’s also the fact that one of these movies isn’t very good. Hint: it’s this one. Mostly this is down to two major flaws – the biology of the monsters and the time frame the story occurs in.
We don’t really need to know where all these monsters came from. Whether they’ve been lurking underground for centuries or came from another planet is largely irrelevant. What’s important is that they will kill you in seconds if you make noise. Having said that, the source of the creatures in The Silence leads to a glaring plot-hole. To put it simply, there’s no why these creatures would survive long enough to cause any real harm to anyone. They’re blind because they evolved in the darkness, but this means they have never been exposed to UV light, they have no pigment in their skin. This could be bypassed if they only appeared at night, but we seen them out during the day with little fuss. I’m no expert but I’m thinking they might have some issues with sunburn.
The second flaw concerns the narrative. I’m more than happy to get on board with a story about evil bat-things who hunt with sound, but you gotta keep the humans believable. This is what sustained The Walking Dead for such a ridiculously long time. The story of The Silence is a matter of days depicting the set-up of the apocalyptic event, the societal crash and the drive for survival. This is maybe half a week and people have already gone batshit crazy, cut out their tongues, formed a cult and started abducting teenage girls who are “fertile”. I can imagine people doing desperate things in an extreme survival situation, but forming an organised group of self-mutilating zealots in this time frame…I just don’t believe it. There’s still a functioning cellular network, for Christ’s sake.
Holding the film aloft is the cast. We’re yet to find a Stanley Tucci performance that we don’t love, and he manages to find extra layers in a simply written character. From the beginning we feel like we might get something more interesting and challenging from how well the actors work with their roles. But before long we’re stepping through the usual horror routine of creepy cultists, basic gore and overblown finales.
The Silence would have struggled to draw viewers in at the best of times, coming on the back of A Quiet Place and Bird Box it’s set up to fail.
Rating: THREE out of TEN