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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Review: The Silence

Director: John R. Leonetti
Screenplay: Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke
Year: 2019

Synopsis: When the world is under attack from terrifying creatures who hunt their human prey by sound, 16-year old Ally Andrews, who lost her hearing at age 13, and her family seek refuge in a remote haven.

At this point, it is unavailing to try to talk about “The SIlence” without mentioning “A Quiet Place” or “Bird Box”. So much “A Quiet Place” as well as “Bird Box”, besides the individual opinions, have been vastly successful in the box offices and views, respectively, aside from being released in a short time. What makes these movies resemble each other is in that they work with the sensorial experience to create tension. They all use sound as a weapon in favor to establish a tense tone but is “A Quiet Place” the one that manages to play with this element to create a unique experience and raise the bar for the next movies that try it.

The main problem of “The Silence” is having been released after the successful “A Quiet Place”, with whom it shares too many similarities. If ye analyze chronologically both movies, we see that “The Silence” is based on a novel by the same name of author Tim Lebbon that was published in 2015 and it was filmed in 2017, before the release of “A Quiet Place”. Even so, it was released sometime later, and it is impossible to ignore the similarities between them and not compare and that “The Silence” gets the worse part for having been released later.

In “The Silence” we see how humanity is being attacked by some aggressive and bloodthirsty creatures called “vesps”, who are blind and are guided principally by their acute hearing. In the protagonist family, there is a deaf young lady, which gives them an advantage as they can communicate in silence, as they all know sign language. Different as what happens in other movies, here we soon see the appearance of the creatures. Although the appearance of the “vesps” has been criticized, I liked that they were presented. I think their appearance is effective in establishing their virtues and weaknesses, in which a good deal of the plot is based upon.

As I mentioned before, these movies use the sensorial experience to create tension. In “The Silence” this is one of the major flaws, as this concept is not well used. In the few parts in which it is tried, it is wasted breaking it with a jump scare that neither works nor is necessary. As how it happens in these situations, the recurring problem is that the director John R. Leonetti (“Annabelle”) and the writers Carey Van Dyke y Shane Van Dyke (“Chernobyl Diaries”) bet for hastened resolutions and they do not develop the ideas more in-depth, which ends up giving many superficial ideas and that in parts do not work well with the rest of the movie. The last 20 minutes are an example of this, as it seems like they were inserted to create some more danger, but it feels forced, bland and not well developed.

The development of the plot and the characters is another problem. The decisions the family take often fell like they are not well based or have little sense and the viewer is left with the impression that there is some information missing. Similarly, the interactions between the family are superficial and do not manage that the viewer gets interested in them. The cast composed of Stanley Tucci (“Spotlight”), Kiernan Shipka (“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), and Miranda Otto (“Annabelle: Creation”), among others, do a good job, but their roles and dynamics between them of a perfect family is too boring.

“The Silence” will suffer more because of the comparisons with the aforementioned “Bird Box” and “A Quiet Place” more than for its own flaws. Although it is generally entertaining and has some really good scenes, it lacks depth and spark to be a memorable movie. It also needed to be riskier in the horror side, which was surprising for me as a lot of people involved in this movie have experience in horror movies.

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