In between Scream VI and the upcoming Evil Dead Rise, there hasn’t been much for horror fans recently. Dropping in early March, Italian production Sound of Silence makes one of the better options for horror fans. A supernatural horror movie that taps into the ‘haunted objects’ vein of haunted house movies, Sound of Silence offers a familiar, if not fun, premise. Only a few reviews have popped up on Rotten Tomatoes. Fortunately, the reviews are leaning into ‘Fresh’ territory.
When aspiring professional singer Emma receives a distressed phone call from her mother, she returns to her family home along with her boyfriend. Upon her arrival, she finds her father hospitalized after he inexplicably attacked her mother. But Emma refuses to believe her father could be capable of that kind of violence. And as she searches through her father’s workshops, she quickly discovers the source of her father’s strange behaviour – an antique radio with a disturbing past.
Sound of Silence Wears Its Influences On Its Sleeve
In its opening scene, Sound of Silence tells you just about everything you need to know about it. Behind the camera the directing trio T3 – Alessandro Antonaci, Daniel Lascar, and Stefano Mandala – aren’t shy about revealing their influences. While it’s effectively creepy, the prologue is instantly familiar. Moreover, Sound of Silence looks immediately modestly budgeted. In spite of these limitations, this is a consistently atmospheric effort that boasts a handful of good scares. In addition, T3 pace things a moderately decent clip to avoid linger too long on moments that may exposes some of the story’s shortcomings. To their credit, the trio also spin a smart way to explain why Emma finds herself alone in her parent’s home for stretches of time.
In spite of these limitations, this is a consistently atmospheric effort that boasts a handful of good scares.
Early in Sound of Silence, North American audiences may initially be reminded of the ‘monster in the dark’ movie Lights Out. Though T3 roots their supernatural entities in sound – as the title obviously implies – the premise of an evil only occasionally visible to us plays on similar fears. Scenes of ghosts disappearing and re-appearing closer and closer to the camera may be overly familiar by now, but it’s a technique that’s still good for a few scares. And as the story stretches into its middle act, Sound of Silence mines the same ground as A Quiet Place. Still there’s enough distinctions here along with a clever use of a soundproof recording studio to avoid too many comparisons.
Sound of Silence Might Have Been Suited as an Anthology Segment Rather Than a Feature-Length Movie
Yet the biggest problem emerging from Sound of Silence is the story itself. On one hand, the screenwriters Lascar and Mandala – two thirds of T3 – have drafted up a pretty rote haunted objects movie. Any one who’s seen even a handful of conventional horror movies will know where things are going. And Sound of Silence makes little to no effort to shake up the narrative. In spite of its interesting setup and consistently atmospheric setting, T3 have ultimately made a pretty formulaic haunting movie. Specifically, the haunting’s source feels pretty ‘by the book’, which is aggravated by an exposition dump in the third act.
…it’s hard not to feel like there wasn’t enough story here to justify a feature-length movie.
By the time the movie ends, it’s hard not to feel like there wasn’t enough story here to justify a feature-length movie. This feels like a story better-suited to a brief segment in an anthology movie that would put its style up front. Another strange choice that impacts the movie’s quality was T3’s decision to film in English with what appears to be a predominantly Italian cast. There’s some sparse dialogue in Italian and the performances come off more naturally in those moments. Some of the performances feel are mixed, particularly in those scenes when the dialogue is spoken in English. Fortunately, the lead actress playing ‘Emma’, Penelope Sangiorgi, is convincing enough to carry the movie when needed.
Sound of Silence a Mixed Playlist of Better Horror Movies, But Still Watchable
Certainly, there’s talent on display in directorial trio T3’s haunted object thriller, Sound of Silence. With no shortage of atmosphere and tension, the directors craft several good jolts – they know their way around the genre. But the scares have nothing to lean on. That is, Antonaci and Mandala’s story is overly familiar and unfolds largely in an exposition-heavy third act. There’s just not enough story here for a feature-length movie. Sound of Silence would work better as a short segment in an anthology movie or series. Moreover, the decision to film the movie in English with an Italian cast results in mixed performances.