“……………………………….” – Everyone
Lets back it up to 2016. A year that Mike Flanagan brought us Hush. A movie that at its core seemed like your generic slasher, home invasion set up, but had the balls to try something a little different. By making the lead protagonist deaf, it added a higher element of dread, and a sense (pun intended) of originality to a tired sub-genre. Although I’m sure this wasn’t the first movie to play with the senses in the way of a horror film, it was the first to open me up to playing with this idea.
Months later, a movie called Don’t Breathe was released. A film that flips the idea in the way of telling its story. By making the original protagonist the antagonist in a simple, yet terrifying tale of a burglary gone bad. With the home owner being blind, our thieves need to be quiet in order to navigate their way through the house, setting a real dramatic and suspenseful scene.
Then we fast forward a few years to 2018. John Krasinski stuns the world by making a dramatic turn in both career and genre, by directing A Quiet Place. Another movie that tackles the sense of sound, but this time in the way of a monster horror flick and not a home invasion scenario like the aforementioned titles. A more unique idea, in a more explored world, Krasinski manages to achieve what I think a lot of people never expected.
Later that same year, Netflix came up with something very similar. This movie was called Bird Box. A supernatural/monster horror flick that dealt with the issue of sight. In this film, our characters would shield their eyes in the way of blindfolds or shelter themselves without the natural light of the outdoor world, due to the looming threat. By this point, the once clever and unique concept, inadvertently coined a sub-genre that in the span of a few years, already feels as though it’s hit its expiry date.
So why talk about this? Well, it’s incredibly difficult to watch this movie without making comparisons to the list of films above. The whole concept just feels stripped of any originality and even offers by-the-book scenarios that have zero intention of pulling the rug out from underneath you. The Silence has a short runtime of 90 minutes, and it shows, as it flies through its material at a pace that almost feels as though it doesn’t want you to take the time to enjoy it. When those moments do come to subvert your expectation, they end quicker than it took Thanos to snap his finger.
With a lack of real storytelling, the actors fall short of being able to do their jobs convincingly, and it should be a cardinal sin for making the ever-lovable Stanley Tucci this boring. There’s no real effort of world building here. Basically, poorly CGI’d bat like creatures flutter through the sky and attack those emitting sound. That’s fundamentally the concept of this movie. We follow Tucci, his (coincidentally) deaf daughter and the rest of their family, as they fight off killer bats and a shamefully undeveloped cult that struggles to add any sort of depth to the overall plot. It’s clumsy and tries too hard to be something it was never likely to be. I know I give these Netflix originals a lot of stick, but The Silence may be the laziest of the lot.