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John’s Horror Corner: The Silence (2019), the Netflix Original that combines A Quiet Place (2018) and Piranha (2010).

April 20, 2019

MY CALL: Given the cast, you’re almost certainly expecting a better movie than this actually is… which is perfectly “okay” for a Sunday afternoon watch. Temper your expectations accordingly. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Silence: Hard to say… probably A Quiet Place (2018), The Happening (2008) or Bird Box (2018)—all three of which are notably better than The Silence.

The end of the world tends to come with few but serious rules. First we had to avoid trees and run away from the wind (The Happening). Then we had to take care not to be heard by (A Quiet Place) or to lay eyes upon the monsters overtaking the world (Bird Box). And as in the aforementioned films, big populous cities are the worst place to be.

Director John R. Leonetti (Wolves at the Door, Annabelle) opens this film with all the delicate tact of a Piranha sequel as a spelunker exhumes an uncharted cave system beneath the Appalachian trail that had been sealed off from the world for eons. I’m instantly reminded of The Descent (2005) and Pitch Black (2000) as blind cavernicolous bat-like creatures erupt from the abyssal chasms and lay waste to their discoverers. Likewise, avoiding any sense of originality, there is, of course, an integral deaf character (just like A Quiet Place) that really adds little significance to the film beyond her family being pre-adapted to the problem of monsters that hunt-by-sound because they know sign language.

Hugh (Stanley Tucci; Jack the Giant Slayer, The Hunger Games, The Core, Monkey Shines), Kelly (Miranda Otto; Annabelle: Creation, War of the Worlds), their kids Jude and Ally (Kiernan Shipka; Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), and sort-of-uncle Glenn (John Corbett; The Messengers, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 1-2, Sex and the City) are a family caught amid the plague of flesh-eating pterodactyl-bats. But whereas the characters are well-written and well-played, the movie plays connect-the-dots from one played-out predictable trope to the next.

Yes, we know the dog is going to bark at the monsters and become a problem; and we know that somehow someone will cough or yell or make some noise that was really more suppressible than the film suggests; and, of course, someone is going to make a bunch of noise and sacrifice themselves to save the rest. Sure, these are staples in a movie about blind monsters with super hearing… but they should have been executed so much better. This film is an unfortunate case of terrible storytelling befalling otherwise good characters. Don’t even get me started on the culty Apocalypse weirdos… another staple uncomfortably shoe-horned into the writing.

The special effects are not this film’s strong suit. Bloody imagery of flesh-stripped corpses reminds me again of Piranha (2010), and the CGI smacks of a ScyFy Channel movie-of-the-week. But the creatures look “okay”—certainly good enough for what this is (i.e., straight to streaming). The unforgivable flaw is the totally phoned-in writing when it comes to major plot points, conflict resolution, and general story development.

If you have Netflix and find yourself looking for something to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon, this is for you. But don’t pick this as your Friday night movie. It’s just good enough to watch.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2019 11:50 am

    Good review and right on the money. We enjoyed this movie, but after seeing Bird Box, we felt it wasn’t anything really different than what we had already seen. Though I did think this was actually better than A Quiet Place. Maybe it’s because we watched that one the night after watching this one and already had our fix for keep-quiet movies. But overall we enjoyed it and thought the creatures were pretty cool. And Stanley Tucci is an outstanding actor and plays a role where you can connect to his character. I enjoyed watching his transformation from nerd dad to protector of the family.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 21, 2019 3:37 pm

      I was pleased with all protagonist actors–the characters were individually VERY well written and subsequently well-performed. Now if only the story development was on par with the character writing… THAT would have been a far better film.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 21, 2019 3:37 pm

      And thank you for the compliment and observations!

  2. July 10, 2021 8:12 pm

    Bloody imagery of flesh-stripped?

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 13, 2021 8:34 pm

      What…? I enjoy my prose. lol


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