The Silence (2019) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Apocalypse YA.

Subject

Bat-size flying reptiles called “vesps” are released from a cave. Despite being blind and dumb enough to fly straight into a wood chipper because it’s making a sound, they somehow threaten the existence of humankind. They are not poisonous, not eusocial, not organized, not intelligent and not able to survive in cold weather, nor can they hear human breathing or heartbeats even indoors, but somehow, there’s a lot of them.

Commentary

As a rule, real birds of prey are silent and the wind is not. Real soft-shelled eggs laid in human carcasses are going to be eaten by scavengers. The subterranean ecosystem of the “vesps” is not explored, but I am sure it would make no more sense than the creatures’ inexplicable success on the surface. It is an axiom that they pose a serious threat regardless of their properties. Just from seeing the initial news reports, one character concludes that the only thing that matters now is protecting the children; civilization snaps in an instant over a bunch of bats.

There doesn’t seem to be any artistic point to this non sequitur, nor will you find artistry in the few quick shots of the “silenced” world. The writers seem completely disinterested in everything but the forced generational shift inside the family unit, including the female lead’s teenage romance, which is sweet and totally uncomplicated. It’s too bad they survive to be Katniss-style archers. The bad graffiti reminds me of Quatermass (1979). The sudden shift in language, where some ordinary place is suddenly renamed “The Refuge” and its previous name is simply forgotten, suggests a crippled imagination. The portrayal of Christianity is overly negative even by my standards, but it’s nice to see the evil Reverend make explicit what is almost always implicit in films like this: He motivates his demand for the young heroine by saying she’s fertile.

fiction moving picture