When I first saw the trailer for Sound of Silence, I was instantly hooked. It promised a super creepy ghost story in the vein of Lights Out but with an A Quiet Place-esque spin on its premise, and that was more than enough to get me excited. I love ghost stories, and I’m a huge fan of both of those movies, so I couldn’t wait to see this one. I requested a screener as soon as I could, but after finally getting the chance to watch it, I’m sad to say that Sound of Silence left me pretty disappointed.
The film was written and directed by T3, a filmmaking trio that consists of Alessandro Antonaci, Daniel Lascar and Stefano Mandala, and it stars Lucia Caporaso, Chiara Casolari, Daniele De Martino, Claudio Dughera, and Rocco Marazzita. The story centers around Emma, a young woman who returns to her parents’ house in Italy after receiving news that her father has been severely injured, and when she gets there, she makes a shocking discovery.
While looking around her childhood home, she finds an old radio that’s haunted by a dangerous ghost. However, unlike most spirits, this one can’t make its presence felt whenever it wants. Instead, it only comes around when something in its vicinity is making a sound, so not only does Emma have to find a way to defeat this entity, but she has to do so while remaining as silent as humanly possible.
On paper, that sounds like a really creative idea for a ghost story, and the opening scene of Sound of Silence takes full advantage of it. The movie starts with Emma’s father unboxing the radio and setting it up in his house, and as you can probably guess, it doesn’t go well for him. The entity that haunts the object appears almost right away, and when we first see it, it’s creepy as hell.
T3 essentially use the same kind of visuals David Sandberg used to frightening effect in his debut feature Lights Out (as well as the short film it’s based on), but they substitute sound and silence for light and darkness. It works really well, and it gives us a taste of how cool this premise can be.
That being said, I do want to point out one issue I had with this scene. While the scares in it are excellent, the acting is a different story. The actors who play Emma’s parents deliver their lines in a really wooden, unconvincing way, and I found that a bit distracting. However, I knew Sound of Silence would focus primarily on Emma, so I didn’t worry too much about these side characters. I thought this was just a minor bump in the road, and I expected smooth sailing the rest of the way.
But I was wrong. When the movie switches to its main characters, it simply gives us more of the same. Emma and her husband Seba are both just as wooden as Emma’s parents, and that pretty much ruined the film for me. I simply couldn’t buy into these characters, so I didn’t care what happened to them. That in turn sapped the horror of any effectiveness it might’ve had, so this entire story had zero impact on me.
To be fair, I’m not sure how effective the horror would’ve been even if I did care about Emma and Seba. While the opening scene is good, the next hour or so of Sound of Silence relies way too heavily on jump scares. I understand that the concept of a ghost who only appears when there’s sound can lend itself pretty easily to those kinds of scares, but this movie overdoes it. It actually becomes a bit boring after a while, so as much as I love the idea, the execution here is just not up to par.
Then, at about the 55-minute mark, Sound of Silence switches gears in a pretty big way. I’m not going to spoil exactly what happens, but I will say that it makes the last 30 minutes of the film feel pretty generic. I applaud T3 for recognizing that they couldn’t just ride the movie’s unique premise the entire time, but it feels like they went a bit too far in the opposite direction for the final act of the story.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the film’s ending. After wrapping up its main story, Sound of Silence gives us an epilogue that ties up a narrative thread from earlier in the movie, and I thought that was fine. But after that, the epilogue continues for a few more minutes, and to be honest, this part of the film is pretty baffling.
It’s not that I didn’t understand what was happening. I did. I simply didn’t understand why this scene was in the movie at all. Maybe I just didn’t recognize a name or a face I should’ve remembered from earlier in the film, but as far as I can tell, the final few minutes have nothing to do with the previous hour and a half. It sets up a completely different story (albeit one with a vaguely similar premise), and it feels completely out of place. So not only is the movie as a whole pretty disappointing, but it also ends on a weird note that’ll leave you scratching your head.
Because of all that, I’m sad to say that I wouldn’t recommend Sound of Silence. Sure, it has its moments, especially the opening scene, but on the whole, the unconvincing characters and the overreliance on jump scares bring it down way too much. It’s a cool premise that’s just not executed well enough, so if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, I suggest you look elsewhere.
Sound of Silence hits VOD on March 9.