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Monday, July 27, 2020

The Silence (2019)




Time for some honesty. I had been avoiding watching the Silence as I sort of lumped it in with the similarly themed A Quiet Place and Birdbox, both of which I did watch. I’m just not a fan of stuff like this. But I have to say that when I finally broke down and checked this one out I was pleasantly surprised.

Stanley Tucci is Hugh Andrews, an architect and family man. He and his wife Kelly have a young son and a teenage daughter named Ally. She lost her hearing a couple of years before in an accident, which means the family can communicate using sign language. This is important later. Why you might ask? Well some explorers decide to crack open a cave in the mountains of Pennsylvania and accidentally unleash a swarm of giant bat looking creatures that rip and tear thru everything they can find. But the catch is being locked in darkness for millennia these creatures have no eyes and hunt by sound. See why the daughter thing was important?

The creatures show up, the family with grandma and family friend Glenn make a break for the country thinking it won’t be as bad there. Less noise means less creature activity. Have no fear though they get plenty of monsters in pursuit. Some of them blind bat creatures and some of them crazy people. I mean you must have some society breaking down in this kind of flick. People die, some live, and we get a sort of happy ending. I mean if you consider millions of dead folks and the human race on the brink of extinction a happy ending.

The story here doesn’t break any new ground but is executed perfectly. We get just enough background on the characters to not only understand the family dynamic but root for them as well. I liked these characters and wanted them all to make it. But this is a monster movie so you can probably guess that they don’t. The cast is very good with Stanley Tucci carrying much of the movie himself. This guy is sneaky good in everything he appears in. Miranda Otto is the mom, John Corbett is family friend Uncle Glenn, and Kiernan Shipka is the hearing-impaired daughter. All of them do a great job in their roles and are fun to watch. There is a lot of talent in front of the camera and it makes for an engaging movie.

I do dig the creatures
If you are looking for an ultra-gory movie The Silence isn’t for you. While I do love the design of the creatures, who get a ton of screen time, the kills are tame. We do see some mangled bodies and get the shock of seeing that the creatures lay eggs in their victims, but no real blood is shed on screen. The horror and honestly the scares come from other places. There is a scene where some creepy locals show up with their tongues cut out. They keep insisting the family join them, which they don’t. The insistence of the preacher/leader is finally explained when he calmly writes “The Girl is Fertile” while starring at Ally. Now that is creepy.

Some other kick you in the gut stuff has to do with the family dog, a woman with a crying baby on a subway, an angry lady with a shotgun, and the best use of a woodchipper onscreen since Fargo! While not terribly original this is a very entertaining movie. I don’t know if it would hold up to repeated viewings, but if you get the chance to stream this, it is currently on Netflix, then I recommend you give it a couple of hours of your time.


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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