Movie Review: “The Silencing”

August 14, 2020

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Director Robin Pront’s serial killer thriller The Silencing is chock full of genre-film tropes and red herrings, but solid performances and crisp cinematography help raise the film to the level of being a perfectly serviceable thriller.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones; Headhunters) stars as Rayburn, an alcoholic former hunter who has transformed his old hunting grounds into a wildlife sanctuary. He is emotionally haunted by the disappearance of his daughter five years earlier. He sees someone heavily disguised on one of his trail cams hunting down a frightened, bleeding young woman and goes in pursuit. The other main character is Sheriff Alice Gustafson, played by Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle; Peaky Blinders). She is so protective of her younger, screw-up brother that she is willing to go beyond just bending the law to keep him out of further trouble. As astute readers might guess, Rayburn and Gustafason cross paths in their mutual quest to determine the identity of the killer and stop the murders. Hampering their pursuit are the aforementioned plethora of red herring suspects and at least one highly unlikely trait shared between certain characters.

Making up for the stock characters, well-worn situations, and bread crumbs deliberately dropped on certain storytelling paths — some of which lead to dead ends — are the performances of the two leads, both of whom give their all to Micah Ranum’s convoluted screenplay, and Maneul Dacosse’s fine cinematography. Pront keeps the proceedings rolling along at a decent pace, and the action and chase sequences are well choreographed and edited. 

Recommended mostly for thriller enthusiasts and fans of the two lead actors, The Silencing, from Saban Films, is available in theaters, On Demand, and On Digital from August 14th. 

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