Once upon a time, when the online streaming industry was still in its infantile steps, Netflix became a sort of pioneer, establishing a formidable, niche, respect worthy image of itself in the process. A company, which through its representations of more socially aware, progressive, un-formulaic content, attracted a thriving viewer base and rampantly seeped into popular culture (‘Netflix and chill’, anyone?), however, has since sold its proverbial soul to the devil. Going by the streaming giant’s recent productions, it is really hard to differentiate the company from the very ethics it initially stood against. A perfect example of the constantly deteriorating OTT media services provider is the new post apocalyptic horror film, ‘The Silence’. Directed by John R. Leonetti, ‘The Silence’ is a film which falls dismally flat on all counts of originality and artistic intent, serving as nothing but a low rent, shoddy imitation of ‘A Quiet Place’. Working in the same ballpark of the earlier, successful ‘Bird Box’, it can be seen as a piggyback money making scheme by Netflix to work with contemporary audience-friendly content.
The plot of the movie is a formulaic, straightforward, tried and tested comic book tale almost bordering on hilarity. Initial premise of the plot structure is laid when a cave research team unearths an unknown species of a Pterosaur like creature, known as “Vesps”, from a 1000-feet deep mine. Quite honestly, what follows is nothing more than the synopsis released by Netflix, summarized as “When the world is under attack from terrifying creatures who hunt their human prey, 16-year-old Ally Andrews (played by Kiernan Shipka), who lost her hearing at 13, and her family seek refuge in a remote haven. But they discover a sinister cult who are eager to exploit Ally’s heightened senses.”
A detailed look at the plot essentially plays out as the aforementioned summary. Ally is a 16-year-old young adult who lost her hearing at 13 in a car accident when her grandparents died. She lives with her parents Hugh (Stanley Tucci) and Kelly (Miranda Otto) Andrews, her maternal grandmother Lynn (Kate Trotter), who has terminal lung cancer, her brother Jude, and a pet dog. As the news of the outbreak spreads, the US government declares an emergency and asks people to remain indoors and stay quiet. Ally suggests they leave the city and head to the country side, which is likely to be quieter. Hugh’s childhood friend Glenn (John Corbett) joins them and brings his guns. The group drives until they hit massive traffic jam, blocking all the interstates with people trying to flee the cities. At this point, Glenn decides to go off road.
Driving through the countryside at high speeds, Glenn’s car is hit by a herd of fleeing deer and tumbles down an embankment. He survives the fall but is trapped in his car. When Hugh and Kelly are unsuccessful in freeing Glen, he accepts his fate and asks Hugh to leave with his family. As the Andrews family return to their car, their pet dog starts to bark, attracting the attention of the Vesps. To this, Glenn fires his gun attracting more Vesps in the process. Hugh leads his family on foot seeing Glen’s car on fire. Struggling to keep up due to her lung cancer, Lynn constantly coughs putting the family in added danger. They soon take refuge in a house Jude finds in the countryside and heads towards it only to find a 10 feet fence with a locked gate around the property.
Upon arriving at the house, the family accidentally alert the owner who, unaware of the situation, starts to speak, resulting in the Vesps to kill her. If this cat and mouse tale wasn’t getting monotonous enough, the film soon sees the involvement of religious zealots who plan to abduct Ally. Amidst all this crisis Ally still finds time to contact and flirt with her boyfriend Rob, who has also been attacked by Vesps. He informs Ally of his plan to escape to the quieter countryside. This is when the film starts bordering on the hilarious and becomes almost unwatchable.
Like other screenplays which are heading nowhere, ‘The Silence’ also sees a random cessation than a gradual conclusion. A cut to several weeks later sees the remaining Andrews family trekking America and eventually making it to the refuge. Later, Ally has found Rob and they hunt down Vesps with arrows. Ally wonders whether the Vesps will adapt to the cold, or will humans adapt to a silent lifestyle, like she did when she lost her hearing. Understandably, it’s really difficult to see this film with a straight face, let alone appreciating it. Therefore, in the forthcoming list, my attempt has been to single out more nuanced, and praiseworthy productions in the same space with special attention being diverted to the genre of post-apocalyptic horror thrillers. Here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘The Silence’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘The Silence’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.