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The Silence (2019)

Film review: The Silence (2019), directed by John R Leonetti

The Silencetl;dr: Have I seen this film before?

Scientists break open a cave, which has been sealed off pretty much since forever, and let loose a horde of flying dinosaur-looking creatures that have no eyes but attack anything they hear. Cue mass panic and hysteria and people leaving their homes trying not to get eaten by bitey flying lizards. It’s the old “a group of people on the run because shit’s hit the fan” plot that we’ve seen a number of times before. Sometimes it’s because trees are trying to kills us, other times it’s zombies, wild animals (I’ll pretend that show only had two seasons), a polar vortex, a massive power-outage, or a pole shift.

BuT tHiS tImE iT’s DiFfeRenT.

This time we follow the Andrews family: father Hugh (Stanley Tucci), mother Kelly (Miranda Otto), older daughter Ally (Kiernan Shipka) and younger son Jude (Kyle Breitkopf). They also bring along grandma Lynn (Kate Trotter), “uncle” Glenn (John Corbett), and a dog. Doesn’t sound too different? Ally lost her hearing in a car crash a few years earlier, so she’s deaf and the family can use sign language! Plot twist!

This is also the excuse, I guess, to have a very much non-deaf actor in the role, rather than finding an actual deaf actor. Ally only lost her hearing like a couple of years ago, so she talks unhindered, and act pretty much like any other hearing-abled is able to act, but with adults telling people she can’t hear them. Ally even uses the sound on her tablet when using what I presume is FaceTime rather than Skype (it’s an iPad, because product placement), which is a bit of a strange thing to do when you’re TRYING TO MAKE AS LITTLE SOUND AS POSSIBLE and CAN’T FUCKING HEAR ANYWAY. But hey, there’s a mobile network reception and teenager needs to FaceTime her boyfriend (Dempsey Bryk), right?

If you thought there would be nutcases coming out of the woodwork because ancient flying things with sharp teeth are killing everyone, then you’re right. There’s a creepy reverend (Billy MacLellan) and his creepy cult of followers, and we see brief glimpses of internet articles about other religious crazies deciding the swarm of hungry hungry dinobats is a punishment from God – and not, y’know, a previously unknown species of carnivore that have evolved underground and scientists knocking a hole in their wall, letting them all out of their cave in search for a new food source. But I digress.

This is absolutely nothing new under the sun, and you’ll wonder if you may have seen this film before. You have, it just had different people in it, and a slightly different threat, and may have been another film or maybe it was a TV-series, but at least creatures that attack things that make a noise makes a bit more sense than creatures that attack people who don’t blindfold themselves. I haven’t seen Birdbox, nor am I planning on doing so anytime soon, but it sounds as if I could copy this review and change the cast list and threat and leave the rest basically the same.

But uh, Stanley Tucci is always good, I guess? And at least the looming menace threatening our very existence isn’t fucking TREES.

3 out of 5 cow bells, and it’s not that it’s actually bad, it’s just that I’ve already seen the doomsday scenario played out so many times by now. Plus I live in Britain, so the whole doomsday scenario has been playing out in parliament for the past three years, so we’re all pretty jaded. Bitey dinobats would basically be a massive improvement to all of our lives right now.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) where she lives with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted on the way.

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