The Silence is yet another sensory deprivation thriller and feels like it was made from a discarded draft of A Quiet Place.
There are now four thrillers I can think of off the top of my head that involve the protagonists needing to be quiet to avoid being murdered. (Don’t Breathe, Bird Box, and A Quiet Place being the other three.) There are probably more but this is too many to be able to list without any effort. For what it’s worth, Don’t Breathe at least wasn’t a worldwide event and simply dealt with a blind old man. The Silence however, is an apocalyptic event film like the other two and features an ensemble cast trying to survive in a world that has changed dramatically in a matter of moments.
The cast is certainly not a weak spot for the film as The Silence follows the Andrews family led by patriarch Hugh (Stanley Tucci), his wife Kelly (Miranda Otto), and their daughter Ally (Kiernan Shipka). Shipka’s Ally lost her hearing at some point in her youth so the whole family is skilled at using sign language. The family is rounded out by Kate Trotter’s Lynn as the live-in grandmother and little brother Jude (Kyle Breitkopf).
The Andrews family is a fairly normal family aside from the fact that the oldest child lost her hearing and the whole family learned sign language. At the start of The Silence we see a group exploring a cave in Pennsylvania and deciding to break a wall in a cave. When they do, what at first appear to be bats come flying out of the cave and rip them to shreds.
It’s not initially clear but the news reports show these “vesps” are attacking major cities across the Northeast. It’s not long before they start reporting that these creatures appear to be drawn to sound. Ally unnecessarily points out that they’re prepared to live a silent life since they know sign language. The rest of the film sees them trying to outrun the creatures southward and failing to do so, then trying to survive in a deserted town. They end up facing threats from not only the vesps but a weird religious group that has popped up and gone to great extremes in a matter of days.
There are a lot of minor goofy flaws that make The Silence hard to enjoy on top of the similarities to other recent films. Overall, it’s not as good as A Quiet Place but still has some tense moments to make it watchable.
I’ll start this section by explaining that the movie was based on a book that was published in 2015 and the movie started filming in 2017 which was a year before A Quiet Place was released. While the film has a lot of similarities there are a few differences between this one and A Quiet Place so I’ll lay those out for you so you can decide if you need to give it a chance.
Not thrust into the post apocalypse
For one, you get to see the world before the infestation and as things collapse. This was why I mentioned Bird Box earlier because you get to see how things fall apart. You also get a chance to get to know how the characters were living and who they were before they had to go into survival mode.
You see what’s killing people
In A Quiet Place you don’t really get to see what’s killing them much. This adds to the suspense but everybody loves a new creature. In The Silence, you see the creatures pretty immediately and their physical presence is what’s used to add suspense. People are having to navigate a world with these sound dependent creatures lurking in plain sight and their lives hang on every action and reaction.
In The Silence the story doesn’t focus solely on the central family and, because the outbreak begins a few minutes into the movie, we see a lot of outsiders. The news is still running for most of the film and internet also works for most of the film. The family also faces external threats during the movie and sees a lot of people who didn’t fare as well as they did.
With the similarities and the many goofy moments I still found myself entertained by this movie. The strong cast helps and the fact that there were several moments that occur here that we haven’t seen in those other movies does as well. I wouldn’t say The Silence is a movie you need to have on your watch list necessarily but if you’re into the genre and need something to throw on then it’s worthy of being in your deep reserves.