16th Apr2019

‘The Silence’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, Kate Trotter, John Corbett, Kyle Breitkopf, Dempsey Bryk, Billy MacLellan, Gregory Waters | Written by Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke | Directed by John R. Leonetti

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The Silence – directed by John R. Leonetti – is the latest Netflix horror released with zero prior knowledge and fanfare for its consumers.

The film stars Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka and Miranda Otto to name a few, as a family fighting a monstrous newly emerged enemy and to add insult to injury mysterious religious cult. If you’ve seen Bird Box or A Quiet Place you’ve already had the pleasure – or displeasure depending on your disposition – of seeing this underwhelming semi-horror protocol. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star Kiernan Shipka impresses in a film that has little bite or intrigue, with very little emotional engagement or even horror elements for that matter.

The Silence is sadly just profoundly underwhelming and with having such staunch similarities to its contemporaries in the likes of both Bird Box and A Quiet Place it just falls into dull repetition. It neither stands out with its narrative or stores a particularly compelling element, of which John R. Leonetti’s film had the chance to do so with the character of Ally Andrews. Played by the terrific Kiernan Shipka, who does as much as she can to craft a compelling character with the poorly constructed material she’s given. Her disability of being deaf should be an integral element and how it plays out is efficient enough, but the film never centrally focuses on the character of Ally Andrews, but the dynamic of the family itself as a whole. An element that could have been executed to a terrific standard, but it then fails to craft any emotionally compelling tension or atmosphere. Therefore, you’re ultimately watching a hollow thread play out with little effect for the audience to engage or resonate.

The narrative on offer here is also slightly skewed in terms of pacing and structure. The first forty-five minutes or so are some of the film’s most intriguing moments. They’re tense and intriguing and open up how the family approach this form of the apocalyptic notion while needing to stay alive, and to the films writing credit by team Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke, the characters actually don’t do anything stupid and are concise about their actions. Quite a refreshing notion considering being dumb is a genre convention of horror of sorts. However, the film loses its way mid-way through the second act with the inclusion of a mysterious religious cult that adds very little in terms of intrigue or entertainment, they’re there as not-so-subtle plot device to cause havoc, and on paper it sounds attractive enough but we’ve seen this exact same plot device displayed in Bird Box and many others of its kin.

The Silence just feels empty and meaningless in the direction of where this film should have progressed, perhaps the novel written by Tim Lebbon goes into more detail on this thread, and if true the film really skews such a development.

The Silence is available on Netflix now.

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