A family must survive in silence after apocalyptic monsters are unleashed.
The Silence is a pre post-apocalyptic thriller from the acclaimed director John R. Leonetti who has brought to the screen such classics as “Mortal Kombat 2: Annihilation”, the instant hit “Annabelle”, and let’s not forget his crème de la crème the 2017 masterpiece “Wish Upon”. In all seriousness though, Wish Upon is truly one of the best so-bad-it’s-good films of recent memory, but it along with the other are steaming piles of junk, so does this director redeem himself with the Netflix machine behind his back?
The movie follows Ally Andrews (Kiernan Shipka, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, “The Blackcoat’s Daughter”) who lost her hearing at 13 years old due to some unexplained event, but it’s really hard to tell because she speaks absolutely normally in this movie, I don’t think any research was actually done on the subject of being deaf, it goes from sign language to full a on speaking sentences in an incredibly jarring fashion, for a movie with Silence as its name it’s really quite loud. Strange winged creatures begin taking over places of America, and chaos ensues no one knowing how or why these things are here. It’s about halfway when the dad (Stanley Tucci, “A Private War”) takes it upon himself to bravely test out if these winged creatures can hear, and of course they cannot and our plot device begins, from there on out it’s a mix of signing and whispering, and it’s just all too familiar of a narrative, one that feels copied and tweaked just slightly to be called its own film. Only the dad and mom (Miranda Otto, “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”) seem genuine in this, everyone else seems pasted into place, with no real direction pushing them forward, briskly and awkwardly reaching a very weak climax, which involves a cult that comes out of literally nowhere in the last 20 minutes of the film, absolutely no set up is done for these characters who are suppose to be menacing but only come off as silly. The whole movie takes place over the course of a couple days, but it’s as if this silent cult was formed ages ago, and on that note while this apocalypse is fresh and just happening, some parts of the cities are completely abandoned and graffitied already, there’s no sense of urgency at all, scratch that, there’s simply no sense to this film period.
in the past two years we've gotten as I call them 'stay quiet' thrillers, with the first being John Krasinski’s impressive “A Quiet Place” which blended the threat of noise and intimate human connection with ease, next, cut from the same cloth as this film I'm reviewing was the less impressive but still tolerable “Bird Box”, which has some truly terrible story formatting issues, but still retained a sense of atmosphere. The last but not least is The Silence, which even though is based on a 2015 novel feels like machine spat this out with the same algorithm as the previous two stated films. The best comparison I can make is “The Hangover” trilogy, the first one is great and the other two suffer, it's like if you baked three loaves of bread at the same time, the first loaf is delicious, warm and welcoming, then the second loaf is getting a bit dry but it's still edible it just doesn't go down as well, then you suddenly remember the third loaf, you never really wanted it but now here it is, dried and stale, but instead of throwing it away you eat it and all it does is leave a terrible taste in your mouth. The Silence is that third loaf, just flat and void of any sort of substance, the first half is laughable and confusing with the setups, while the second half makes its best attempt to resemble a thriller, it never really does. Although to its credit there is a really gnarly death scene that had me smiling, so that should save this hunk of junk from the lowest score possible.
I've watched my fair share of Netflix original movies now, most of them are pretty bad, but there's a few exceptions like “Apostle” and “The Dirt” but with the exclusion of “Apostle”, every single one has what I call the 'Netflix Look' it's as if whoever is in charge of the post production process is required to throw on this glossy filter over the entire film. It makes it feel like a high end television production, even great Netflix films such as “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” suffers from this problem. The feeling is that of a watermark found on illegally obtained films, it's not something you want while watching your films, but unfortunately there's no way to get rid of it. Other providers like Hulu and Amazon also have this sort of feel, but its usually just on their original series, and not movies, just look at the “Suspiria” remake which was an Amazon original film, but that oozed authenticity. Netflix just continues to vomit out original feature after original feature without ever asking themselves if they should.
Overall The Silence is just a rehashed movie of a rehashed movie made by the same studio. And with an incompetent director behind the camera this feels all too contrived and wholly unoriginal. the dialogue is laughable, the characters are miserable, and the whole thing lacks strong direction. I think the executives at Netflix drew a name from a hat and found Kiernan Shipka and Miranda Otto taking a week off from filming “Sabrina” and shot this in that time span. Nothing feels genuine and besides a few decent ideas and shots this film is a hard pass and one of the worst things the Netflix machine has shot out in the past year.
I give The Silence 1.5 stars out of 5.
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