The Silence


This feckless A Quiet Place knockoff, already streaming on Netflix in many other countries, sees a family lead by Stanley Tucci fight for survival in a world where noise equates to a nasty death at the sharp claws of “veps”, a primeval bunch of steroidal bats. The winged critters hunt only with their hearing, meaning a no-noise policy is in effect. And would you believe it, just like in A Quiet Place there’s even a deaf protagonist!

Though Tim Lebbon’s novel on which The Silence is based was published in 2015, the similarities between John R. Leonetti’s film and John Krasinski’s 2018 horror hit are inescapable. The streaming giant’s tactic to capitalise on the latter’s success and ride on Bird Box’s popularity is cringingly transparent here; they’ve churned out another high-concept post-apocalyptic horror film with a premise that now feels like a pale imitation. Worse, the awful screenplay is chock-full of sub-YA dialogue, and the shoddy CGI ensures that even its nastier moments are about as unnerving as Tucci’s affable face. Only the late-in-the-day inclusion of a creepy cult is semi-effective, but it is a rushed plot development, one further undone by the clique’s ridiculous name, “The Flock of the Hushed”.

Quite why anyone would choose to watch The Silence instead of re-watching A Quiet Place is baffling. Krasinski’s film is a dizzyingly immersive genre film that crucially makes you want to keep as schtum as its characters while you’re watching it. This new release is algorithm filmmaking at its most cynical and screams out to be interrupted with, well, screams of frustration.

The Silence | Directed by John R. Leonetti (US, 2019), with Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto. Starts 16 May.

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