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Silence is Fool's Golden

The Silence follows a family that tries to survive an onslaught of bat/pterodactyl-like creatures that emerge in throngs from an ancient cave. As the creatures ravage the east coast of the U.S., the family must find a way to avoid their sound-based hunting, and a cult that has a personal interest in them.

The Silence Review

Netflix is trying its darndest to produce good horror, but this movie was a step in the wrong direction, primarily because it chose to sacrifice limited decent effects for extensive SyFy original effects. The poor CG of the creatures brings the entire production value down where the rest of the production was above average.

This was one of our weaker comics in a while (and that's saying something), but the point is valid. The explanation for these creatures is laughable and less believable than Reign of Fire or simply the obscure approach of A Quiet Place. And, the mere existence of A Quiet Place drops the value of this movie significantly because the "don't make a sound or the monsters will get you" had just been done to much higher acclaim. It was just bad timing. The world didn't need The Silence, at least not until A Quiet Place had had some time to breathe.

The creature design, through the poor lens of the CG, was interesting enough...It had a more dimorphodon feel to it despite its base characteristics resembling a bat. It opens up the imagination to the creature's evolutionary origins. But that is all thrown out the window when the bats emerge from an ancient sealed cave in the thousands (maybe millions by the way they spread so quickly in the early goings of the film), seemingly unaffected by the confines of their previous home. What did they feed on in there that was so plentiful that they would burst forth like maggots from a plump corpse? And why would they so easily adapt to feeding in an environment that was practically opposite to its original ecosystem in many ways? I feel like The Descent subtly handles this premise with acknowledging that these subhumans had evolved to thrive in caves, and that the reason humanity had never seen them was because they rarely if ever ventured outside of their environment for which they were perfectly equipped. There's a reason cave ecosystems exist. Those species can't magically thrive outside of them. I don't know why this blunder bothered me so much, but it did...

The acting is pretty good, balanced by generic directing and cinematography. The sound design isn't near as flawless as A Quiet Place, managing to somehow make the deaf-ringing sound effect far more intrusive on the audience. It tried to build a strong relationship dynamic throughout and let the drama feed off of that, but it simply failed to keep up the pace.

The introduction of the cult is interesting, but again, falls flat because of timing. Bird Box just tackled this concept not that long ago and to thrilling effect. The Silence merely missed its window, that is, if it's not a wave-riding rip-off to begin with. I could actually use more films like all of the aforementioned films, including The Silence, but I just need either a higher production value to take advantage of the creature design or a better execution of character dynamics to give realism and intrigue to the story. The Silence falls short a bit in both arenas.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 7/10

Horror Quality: 4/10

Film Quality: 5/10

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