SOUND OF SILENCE Review: Proper Scary Horror Flick Thwarted by Key Concerns

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SOUND OF SILENCE Review: Proper Scary Horror Flick Thwarted by Key Concerns
Emma returns to Italy after an incident in her family home leaves her parents badly injured. Alone in the house Emma discovers a haunted radio and makes contact with the evil that is haunting it. Now she has to uncover the dark secret behind the radio’s curse if she is going to survive the night. 
Sound of Silence is building off an idea in a short film by the same name in 2020 made by Alessandro Antonaci, Stefano Mandalà, and Daniel Lascar, known collectively as T3 Directors. We will refer to them T3 here on in. 
Audio heard during the prologue in the film talks of ‘three directors’ who prefer to ‘shoot their movies like stage plays’. One can only presume the directors are talking about themselves and giving notice to the audience on what to expect of their approach to shooting their movie. 
We appreciate the static shots that frame each shot and limit motions largely to the spirits themselves. Even though we are merely observers of this scary tale this still gives a sense of being trapped, of not being able to get out of the way of the angry spirit as it charges towards you. 
The camera is not static all the time, T3 chooses movements of pans, vertical rolls and tilts from a fixed point are sharp and quick. The spinning camera shots and rolling shots on axis serve their own purpose that we will leave you to discover when you watch Sound of Silence. Even something as simple as a pan reinforces that sense of being stuck in one position of only being able to turn your head and look in the direction, or, the act of misdirection that T3 uses in the set ups.
We do like the look of their film, with a color palette of cold, slate like colors. It helps establish that the world of this film is one that is constantly inhabited by spirits because they do not so much stand out but blend into their surroundings when they are visible. 
Sound of Silence is scary enough that should have been right up there with other standouts in the haunted objects sub genre. It is carried out with an execution that is reminiscent of Asian horror cinema; they are the World leaders after all. However, the damned acting and too much time in between the set pieces have placed Sound of Silence in a perilous situation. 
Is it bad acting when it is obviously “acting”? We do not know if this is the case because T3 decided to shoot their film in English. But it begs the question, would it have been better in its native Italian? The rough prologue was just the beginning. The energy that should have carried Emma’s discovery of the history behind the cursed radio is thwarted largely because of, again, “acting”. The simplicity of nearly everyone’s delivery constantly threatened to take us out of big moments in the film.. 
There is only one Mike Flangan. What do we mean? When we reflect on the lengthy quiet moments (pun not intended) in Sound of Silence we cannot help but wonder if T3 are trying to emulate the same sense of mood and atmosphere that a director like Flanagan came to be known for. It does not always work here and often will lead to moments of impatience from scare nuts waiting for the next bit.
Many false endings lead to an obvious bid from the directors to continue exploring the world of haunted objects. Frustration over when this movie will ever end gives way because once again it turns out T3 has one more terrific and scary set piece to give us. We feel that if T3 were to go all out in future horror films, focus on tilting the scales towards more set pieces they could find a more receptive audience in the global horror circle. 
Think about the great Thai horror flicks Alone and Shutter from Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, or the filmography of Indonesia’s Joko Anwar as well. These are films and filmographies that were and are jam packed with scares. When thinking about movies whose existence is solely to scare you to death these are the benchmarks. Sound of Silence does many things that mimic the set pieces in great films like those. Sadly there are other things that ultimately take away from the overall effectiveness of this experience.  
So there we have it, a bit of a mixed bag and results kind of flick. The scary moments are indeed scary and achieve their purpose. However the overall effect is diminished by rigid acting and lengthy wait times in between each set piece. We are probably more forgiving of Sound of Silence than some of our contemporaries will be. When looking for merits in this film there are some that need to be acknowledged. 
Sound of Silence is available on VOD and Digital on March 9th from XYZ Films.

Sound of Silence

  • Alessandro Antonaci
  • Daniel Lascar
  • Stefano Mandalà
  • Alessandro Antonaci
  • Daniel Lascar
  • Stefano Mandalà
  • Lucia Caporaso
  • Chiara Casolari
  • Daniele De Martino
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Alessandro AntonaciDaniel LascarStefano MandalàLucia CaporasoChiara CasolariDaniele De MartinoHorror

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