Film Review: The Silence

How is it that Netflix uses a premise highly comparable to one of the best horror films from last year, casts Stanley Tucci and Kiernan Shipka, and somehow still can’t make a decent film?

Basic Synopsis: Winged creatures that hunt by sound are unearthed from a blocked off cave system and terrorize a deaf teen and her family as society quickly crumbles around them. So Netflix’s version of A Quiet Place, basically.

Quick Question: Does anything good ever happen when the Appalachian Trail is involved?

Brief Thoughts: In our recently recorded (but lost to the data dumpster) Middle of the Row podcast episode, Ben mentioned that had A Quiet Place not existed Jon and I would probably look at this film as a decently passable, SyFy-esque B movie as he is able to. And I can definitely agree with that. Unfortunately A Quiet Place made it to the screen before this adaptation of Tim Lebbon’s novel, so it’s impossible not to simply look at this as a lesser version of John Krasinski’s film. The writing is weaker, and thus the characters and family dynamic are as well, some big character moments made me laugh in their grandeur when they should’ve been more emotionally resonant, and the film’s pacing suffers when a cult hunting fertile ladies appears out of nowhere late in the film, throwing off the family vs sky piranhas matchup that the film feels much more comfortable with. Had there been another hour left of the film when the detongued gang arrived then they wouldn’t feel so “and also I was there!”, but as is, the final half hour of the film feels so rushed that honestly I was shocked when the movie quickly wrapped up. Like, “that was it?”

And Another Thing: I’m all for representation in film, but the way they handled the daughter’s deafness was really awkward. For starters, I legit thought the early set up that emphasized this white noise and the character’s focused gazes elsewhere were implying that she had some sixth sense or something. But no, I apparently read that very wrong and her superpower is just that not being able to hear has prepared her for living in silence. How does that make sense, exactly? Yes, we have her to thank for the whole family knowing sign language, but there’s still a big difference between knowing how to live in silence vs knowing how to live silently. So maybe don’t make grand proclamations about her deafness being a gift; just let her exist in this world and work her influence on the family in subtlety.

Does the Dog Survive the Film? (Spoilers): One of the best things about A Quiet Place starting a while after the invasion is that we were fortunate enough not to witness all the dogs being massacred as they barked in their doom. The Silence is not so generous, and all I can say is Stanley Tucci has now played both one my of favorite dads in film (Easy A), and one of my least favorite dads in film.

Random Thought: Speaking of assumed inevitable deaths, I don’t know about you, but I spent the majority of the film just waiting for the grandma to Dante’s Peak herself. I will forever be haunted by that acidic lake…

Biggest Complaint: How is it that the characters come across a bunch of dead bodies infested with creature eggs and not once do we get some Alien style hatchery horror? One just spits on Shipka and that’s it! Booooooo.

Favorite Moment: One word: woodchipper. It’s not the first use of one in a horror film this year (Happy Death Day 2 U), but it’s the best use of one.

Speaking of Hunting by Sound: With these creatures often being the main cause of noise in scenes, they have to accidentally sometimes eat each other, right?

Final Thoughts: Filmwise, A Quiet Place did it better, plain and simple. That said, Tim Lebbon’s novel does have a 3.81 out of 5 on Goodreads so consider giving it some love if you’re still interested in The Silence.

So what did you think of The Silence? Was it as hard for you to stop comparing it to A Quiet Place as it was for me? Did you think the sky piranhas were as adorable as I did? Let me know in the comments below!

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