(Germany/US - 2019)
Directed by John R. Leonetti. Written by Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke. Cast: Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, John Corbett, Kate Trotter, Kyle Breitkopf, Dempsey Bryk, Billy MacLellan, Chris Whitby, Barbara Gordon, Sarah Abbott, Kate Corbett. (Unrated, 90 mins)
THE SILENCE is based on a 2015 novel by British horror/fantasy author Tim Lebbon, but that still won't stop the comparisons to last year's hit A QUIET PLACE. Filmed in 2017 and originally set to be released by the financially-strapped Golden Road before they sold it to Netflix, THE SILENCE was in production around the same time as A QUIET PLACE, and it's also interesting to note that SILENCE star Stanley Tucci is married to the older sister of A QUIET PLACE star Emily Blunt, so they had to know they had a family competition going with oddly similar horror movies about creatures who hunt by sound, with the action centering on a family that learns to exist in silence and can communicate by sign language since one of the children is deaf. Lebbon's novel is adapted by the writing team of Carey and Shane Van Dyke, the grandsons of Dick Van Dyke and best known for scripting various Asylum "mockbusters" like TRANSMORPHERS, STREET RACER, and THE DAY THE EARTH STOPPED. The director is certified hack John R. Leonetti, a veteran cinematographer whose filmmaking credits include such classics as MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2, ANNABELLE, and WISH UPON.
The Tucci Gang--would be totally onboard with it. But this is seriously just cheap-looking, SyFy-level junk. The Tooch is one of our most reliable character actors (and an Oscar nominee for THE LOVELY BONES), and he's an accomplished screenwriter as well (BIG NIGHT). Surely, he read the script for THE SILENCE and could see that it was hot garbage. Did he need to make a down payment on a new house? A kid starting college the next fall? He classes it up as best he can, and THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER's Shipka (currently starring with Otto on Netflix's CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA) turns in an appealing and very credible performance, even taking the time to learn ASL in preparation, which is really going above and beyond for something this dumb.