‘The Silence’: Soundalike horrors and survival themes
Like “A Quiet Place” and “Bird Box” before it, the horror-scifi film “The Silence” has monsters that target human beings through specific, everyday things in their lives. Escaping from a long imprisonment, swarms of prehistoric winged creatures attack the unsuspecting human populace—drawn to the various sounds that people make.
The film, currently streaming on Netflix, feels like an unexpected prequel to John Krasinski’s postapocalyptic “A Quiet Place,” with people forced to stay silent to survive. “The Silence” is based on a 2015 horror book of the same title that was made at about the same time as the unrelated but oddly similar film.
Among this story’s protagonists is a deaf teen girl, Ally (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” star Kiernan Shipka). She and the rest of the family—dad Hugh (Stanley Tucci), mom Kelly (Miranda Otto), kid brother Jude (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) and maternal grandmother Lynn (Kate Trotter)—learn about the carnage caused by the sound-sensitive creatures in major cities, so they decide to move to the countryside.
They are joined by Hugh’s best bud, Glenn (John Corbett), who gets in an accident while leaving the city. Almost immediately after the incident, they come face-to-face with the small but horrific creatures, which demonstrate their savagery and insatiable hunger in no time.
The family members get into tough scrapes where they narrowly avoid the flying predators, and have to forage for medicine when one of them is seriously injured. It is at this point that it becomes “The Walking Dead”-ish.
During their supply run, a suspicious-looking priest, the Reverend (Billy McLellan), invites them to his group. They refuse, of course, but he and his similarly tongueless cult members later reappear at the family’s temporary refuge to offer them sanctuary, while revealing their sinister motives.
Some deaths here are inevitable, and certain scenarios fall under the usual horror tropes. There are decent shocks in the film by “Annabelle” and “The Butterfly Effect 2” director John Leonetti, regardless.
Things may not always be unpredictable, but there are a few story developments that keep it intriguing. It’s made viewable as well by a talented, if largely underutilized cast.
Tone-wise, it’s very much like “Bird Box,” although the familial relationships here don’t get tested as much as they were in that film. And, like that horror flick, “The Silence” is open-ended enough to allow a possible sequel—one that can work if they ditch the been-there, done-that cat-and-mouse plot, and go for a story that features adapting and proactive characters intent on solving their problems permanently.