‘The Silence’ (2019) | Netflix Film Review

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 10, 2019 (Last updated: December 9, 2023)
Netflix Film The Silence Review - 2019 - Kiernan Shipka


Netflix film The Silence utilizes a similar plot device to A Quiet Place only less effectively, but the family togetherness makes it worth a watch.

Netflix film The Silence has only caught my attention due to the pathetic squabbling that always seems to engulf Film Twitter these days. The question that was brought forward in a pointless debate is this: was The Silence made because of A Quiet Place? My answer to this: who gives a s**t?

But then again, just in case you are curious, The Silence is based on the 2015 horror novel of the same name by Tim Lebbon, and they started casting for the Netflix film back in 2017; so no, it is just a coincidence.

There does seem to be a growing subgenre of horror based on senses, and having to suppress a specific function, so an unknown beast(s) does not kill you. With The Silence, they remove the pretentiousness, and from the start show the ancient creatures called Vesps, which attack your flesh if they can hear you. The creatures are blind after being underground for years, so if you keep your crying baby quiet, and you don’t have a dog, you are relatively safe.

The Silence, like A Quiet Place, relies on the plot device of, well, silence. This is coupled with the leading young character Ally Andrews (Kiernan Shipka – the leading star in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) being deaf, with a scaringly accurate portrayal of the disability. Because Ally and her family can communicate via sign language, they are well-equipped to battle through this vicious apocalypse.

Netflix Film The Silence Review - 2019

The Silence is relatively predictable but entertaining in its 90-minute running time, and it also lacks the scare-factor, very much like Bird Box, where the plot device is propped up for general entertainment rather than specifically for horror audiences. The Silence instead relies on a family-feel narrative with the two parents (played by Stanley Tucci and Miranda Otto) giving the group a naturalistic feeling.

There are several “shut the f**k up” moments when the Vesps are sensing noise, but once the family grasps how to navigate, it becomes a relatively straightforward plot, with very little tension. The script of The Silence is at times wooden, especially when the father speaks to his best friend in the most boring exchange ever, making the film scene-to-scene sometimes feel a little inconsistent with the performances.

Regardless of the doubts, The Silence is worth a viewing. I didn’t fully understand the hype surrounding Bird Box, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this got a similar social media push, but it’s an average, watchable movie and gives a significant, representative nod to the deaf community. And also, as a pointless side note, Kiernan Shipka looks uncannily like a young Emma Watson with dark hair.

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