[Review] The Silence (2019)
The Silence is a 2019 English-language German horror film released on Netflix and starring Kiernan Shipka and Stanley Tucci. It is directed by John R. Leonetti based on a screenplay by Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke that adapts the 2015 horror novel of the same name by Tim Lebbon. The film depicts a world under attack by creatures who hunt by sound. Shipka plays a late-deafened teenager who lost her hearing and seeks safety and shelter with her family in a remote refuge. However, they discover a cult who are eager to exploit her heightened senses.
I bet anything that there’s going to be a lot of reviews accusing The Silence as a ripoff of The Quiet Place or Birdbox, and although I can understand this assumption, I have to tell you that it’s not. Not really. Yes the Quiet Place came first, and then we had Birdbox come right after, but The Silence is actually based on the novel by Tim Lebbon. That being said, if anything, A Quiet Place and Birdbox are rip-offs from the 2015 book The Silence. It is totally possible for movies or books to have similar plots, and perhaps similar names. So, before you start accusing, do some research. I will say one thing, I was looking forward to watching this movie because I had read and enjoying the book so much, but I made myself go in with low expectations for the film. However, it ended up being a little better than I had hoped, but to be honest, it truly could have been much better, the potential was there.
The Silence is a film of survival in a now hostile world. It tells a story of a family desperately trying to survive in a world that is made near impossible by the presence of small winged creatures that hunt by sound. Long hidden from the world, these ferocious killers were trapped in a cave with a presumably limited food source that breeds rapidly. Oblivious to this horror, a research team unearths the unknown species of blind pterosaur-like creatures, referred to as “Vesps”, from a cave. The Vesps violently kill the researchers, fly out of the cave, and seek out the noisiest areas they can find. Within hours America is thrust into a post-apocalyptic world, with the army and military conspicuously absent from every scene.
Revolving mainly around the flying creatures that are hunting down their prey only by sound. The Vesps are accidentally released from a deep cavern somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains. A family is then introduced which includes a mother, father, a grandmother who is presumably dying of lung cancer, a younger brother, and a girl who has been deaf for nearly 3 years due to an accident. We also have a family pet, a large dog that loves to bark. I could see this working out.
Kiernan Shipka (Sabrina) plays the part of Ally, the deaf girl with a heightened sense of everything that is happening around her. Her father Hugh tells her that it’s a gift. In my opinion, Kiernan does not portray a deaf person correctly. There are many times where she’s seen talking and at times she forgets to use sign language, which seemed a little odd to me.
Then we see her boyfriend barely using sign language over some chat program, facetime or Skype, not sure now, and she seemed to have no problem what so ever communicating with him. She’s even shown talking to her dad about the creatures and their weaknesses and she starts talking really fast and doesn’t even bother using sign language. Okay?
The family now learns that there is a state of emergency issued throughout the United States due to the Vesps attacking and eating humans. Through social media channels, they learn that the only chance of survival is through silence. The Vesps are quickly breeding and spreading all over the entire Eastern Seaboard. The family flees the area and soon has their first encounter with the creatures. This encounter reveals to them how they can avoid becoming a meal to the Vesps. The family continues on and seeks refuge at a ranch but in the process, the mother, Kelly, suffers a horrible injury from a Vesp attack which leads to a life-threatening infection.
This forces Hugh and Ally to venture out for medicine and soon comes across a small deserted town. Inside the town, they encounter a creepy and mysterious man known as The Reverend. He writes in a book inviting Hugh and Ally to join him and his cult called “the Hushed”. Hugh and Ally are not interested and get a little freaked out and walk away to return to the ranch where later in the day, the entire cult catches up with them and shows great interest in Ally’s fertility. Umm, why? No clue, it’s never explained.
While there are a few thrilling and really well-done scenes, nothing is all that hair-raising. Nothing about The Silence is extraordinary, it’s just for the most part, okay. The cinematography and soundtrack were both satisfactory, but I did not appreciate the fact that the entire film was Without subtitles, we had to guess most of the time. The pacing and atmosphere great, and the nasty little creatures were creepy and menacing with fairly done effects. All the characters played their parts semi-well, I think everyone did their best, even Stanley Tucci tried, but just how much can an actor expect to bring out of a weak script?
However at no point did I feel like any of them did the stupidest things ever, and I felt like they could actually be a real family pulling together in this nightmare, even if there was hardly any back-story on them. All in all The Silence is not a bad film, it’s just not that great. The ending was somewhat disappointing, especially when compared to the ending of the book, there were some really good and creepy scenes that do the book justice. I think I’d have to highly recommend the book over the movie, as it is more awesome. Good for a one-time-watch only.
Title: The Silence
Release Date: April 10, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi
Starring: Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Director(s): John R. Leonetti
Reviewed by: Kathryn Price
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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