REVIEW: The Silence

From the surface, it would be easy to believe that Netflix's The Silence was just a copy and paste rip off of A Quiet Place.  Both movies are about creatures that are blind and hunt by sound, as well as both films having a deaf daughter in the lead family.  Those similarities are extremely specific, and one could think that The Silence was essentially a mockbuster of the incredibly popular A Quiet Place.  The fact that the writers of The Silence have a history of writing for The Asylum adds some weight to that theory.

However, all this is just coincidence.  Both movies were being developed around the same time, and it is just a case of two movies being similar.  The problem for The Silence is that it was released a year later, which would lead a lot of people to believe that it only existed because of the popularity of another film.  It also isn't a good movie.

The film begins with explorers moving deep into a cave, and releasing some bat like creatures that have been sealed down in the depths for centuries.  What would those hundreds of thousands of bats ate while they were down there for hundreds of years?  A very good question that director John R. Leonetti probably doesn't want you to ask.  The creatures get out, and start attacking people.

Our main character is Ally (Kiernan Shipka), a high school student who is deaf, and has been for three years.  Surprisingly she speaks completely normal in all situations, almost as though they didn't want to bother trying to make her character realistic.  Her father is Hugh (Stanley Tucci), who tries to get his family out of the city when the creature bats start terrorizing people.  The reason is because cities aren't quiet, but I couldn't help but think they sure would be once people realized that being silent meant survival.

Off the family goes on a trip to no real destination other than just leaving the city.  They bring their dog with them, and I get that you wouldn't want to leave it behind but it just seems incredibly stupid as a dog will bark when flying bat things are around.  Inevitably, that ends up happening, and the stupid decision ends up causing someone's life.

I found it very hard to get into the movie because these people came across as dumb.  This is shown the best in a scene where they have found a house to live in.  Hugh wakes up and hear's floorboards creaking.  He gets out of bed and looks out a window.  He hear's the footsteps again, which are beyond obviously in the house, and goes around to other windows to look and see if there is anyone outside.  I know that Leonetti thought this would look great, as with a number of other implausible moments in the film.  It is a case of someone having a bunch of 'cool looking' scenes they want to capture and they will do anything possible to force them into existence.

One confusing aspect of the film is the passage of time.  As far as I can tell, only two nights (possibly three) have passed since bat creatures arrived.  Society has completely broken down, towns are shuttered and vacant, and a ridiculous cult has formed from survivors.  So much appears to have happened, but there is no actual feeling of time passing within the film.

The cult is such a comical element, with the leader having a nowhere near creepy smile that he maintains unless he is hissing like a partially distracted cat that's also looking like it's about to cough up a hairball.  This cult was supposed to be an aspect of terror, but ends up being one of the lamest representations of a villain that I have seen in years.

As well, the main characters talk a lot for people who both know they need to stay silent and who all know sign language.  In many scenes, they are signing to each other, but talking at the same time.  This feels like it was done so they didn't have to rely on subtitles very much, and it really makes them look like fools.  The daughter has a video chat with her boyfriend, and for some reason doesn't have her tablet muted.  She also talks to him instead of signing.  There are just so many moments in this movie where characters don't act like they are living in this world of doom that has been created.

Ultimately, the family survives the cult, and heads north.  There is a place up north where survivors have created a sanctuary (all within a few days).  The only directions given for getting there is to go north.  Everyone knows that North America's north is a small area, so there's no way anyone could head north and not find this little enclave.

There is a much better film out there.  Watch A Quiet Place.  That movie really focuses on family relationships and the hardships of surviving a massive event.  The Silence is loaded with farcical scenes that someone thought would be terrifying, but mostly come across as comical.  For Netflix, this was a big swing and a miss, with even the base components feeling underbaked and not thought through.

Rating - 1 out of 4 stars