A family desperately tries to find a safe haven after creatures, hypersensitive to sound, begin wreaking havoc. Sound familiar? Released by Netflix in April 2019, The Silence is a painful attempt to remake the wildly successful A Quiet Place, which came out the year before. Though this is based on a 2015 novel of the same name, the story has already been done perfectly, leaving little to be desired in this straight-to-streaming flick.
While cave diving, a group of researchers accidentally awaken prehistoric-like creatures with an extreme sensitivity to even the slightest sound. Outside of the caves, we are introduced to Ally (Kiernan Shipka), a deaf teen who struggles to deal with her overbearing parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Miranda Otto. She hopes to escape their severe helicopter parenting come time for University life.
However, her plans for a future are shaken when the creatures make way across the country, forcing the government to put forth a shelter-in-place order. Ally’s family, along with family friend Glenn (John Corbett), favor heading out to the country, hoping it will be quieter and therefore safer. But they will soon learn that there may be no safe place away from the monsters – and people.
This film had the sad misfortune of following up a critical darling that has an eerily similar setup. Even down to having a deaf family member, The Silence doesn’t have much to set itself apart. Similarities aside, and even if the aforementioned film (which ironically stars Tucci’s sister-in-law Emily Blunt) didn’t exist, I still don’t find this film to give much to the audience.
I’ll start off with some positives. There are some clever uses for survival thrown about. For every three moments of cringe, you get one “that’s sort of cool” moment to keep you somewhat interested. Truthfully, that’s all I could give to this film in terms of credit. Mainly, this film suffers from a weak story, painfully dull dialogue, and special effects undeserving of any semblance of praise – simply put, it’s a bad TV movie.
The most puzzling part of it all, is at a point we’re introduced to a weirdly religious cult-like group. For some reason, they’ve taken a morbid liking to Ally and her family and prove they are just as dangerous as the monsters surrounding them. I’m baffled as to how a crazed, and well-organized, group came to be mere days into the event. It is such a bizarre, unnecessary part of the story that only adds to the hokey-ness of it all.
The Silence has some talented actors in it, which sadly said yes to the most simplistic script. I also find that hiring a hearing actress to play a deaf character to be quite offensive to the Deaf community. Especially considering the character speaks quite a lot and signs very little. I’m sure Netflix has a thing with Shipka, based on her role in their Sabrina series, but that certainly does not mean we can’t get a little more sincere representation in our films.
There is so much bad in this film that I wouldn’t even recommend as a passive watch. If you haven’t watched A Quiet Place yet, I recommend giving your time to that. Also, if you’re looking for an apocalyptic monster flick, that I feel this film took some ques from, I’d suggest The Mist (the 2007 film, not the series).