There are hundreds of horror films being released every single year. The genre has been over-saturated for decades, and it seems like that will not change in the foreseeable future. And why not? Horror films can be made on the cheap, and they have the potential to become quite profitable. They are a better bet than any action or drama flick. However, just like any other movie, they are not easy to make. They must strike a fine balance between the horrific, the dramatic, and the compelling. Sound of Silence is a movie that strives to achieve just that.
Sound of Silence is a film written and directed by Alessandro Antonaci, Daniel Lascar, and Stefano Mandalà. The film’s cast includes Penelope Sangiorni, Rocco Marazzita, Lucia Caporaso, and Daniele De Martino. The film tells the story of Emma, a young woman who aspires to become a singer and lives in New York. One day, she receives a call and finds out her father has become ill. Now, Emma returns to Italy to care for his father but then finds out about a terrifying mystery that could end her life and the lives of the people she loves.
Ghost stories have been with us for thousands of years. Death is such a captivating subject because it has remained elusive to us throughout our existence. We have created thousands of stories to justify the simple fact that we are not meant to exist for very long and that one day, human existence will cease to be, and nothing will matter. It all sounds pretty grim and pessimistic, but that is the reason why stories like this exist; even if they terrify us, we need to think that there is more to this life than just existing. Some people really need to believe there is something after.
Sound of Silence deals with this issue, the afterlife, just like many other ghost stories do; it is just logical. However, the movie divides itself into two halves, actually three, that feel completely different from each other, and one is so much more interesting than the others. The first act might be the weakest. For a movie that is about just 90 minutes in length, the film really takes its time in getting the story rolling. It takes just too much time to introduce the characters and the situation.
This becomes the main flaw of the film. The characters are just too generic to be able to carry the entire story on their shoulders. Our protagonist, Emma, is the typical final girl we have seen in many other movies. There is nothing in Emma that makes her feel like a compelling character. She is given motivation and some broad characteristics that define who she wants to be, but other than that, the character feels completely static, and her story is just very, very bland.
As the story moves into its second act, things just fall to a crawl, and the movie becomes almost unwatchable; there are just too many scenes of characters doing nothing, and it is all very strange, but not in a good way. It is in the third act when the good strangeness appears, and the movie becomes kind of interesting. The film almost jumps into the medium’s most experimental side and tells a classic ghost story in the process. It is just a shame that you have to get through all those generic and boring parts to get to this.
So, the writing is weak, and there are a lot of problems with the plot and its execution. The pacing is also quite strange and doesn’t make for a captivating watch. However, the ideas thrown to the wall are quite intriguing. The movie ends up being a mix of Michael Keaton’s movie “White Noise” and some elements from the cult classic “Berberian Sound Studio.” Especially when it comes to the atmosphere and how some shots are filmed. There is potential here, but there seems to be no clear vision in mind. Too many directors, perhaps?
There is also the matter of the ending. The ending of this movie comes out of the left field, and while very interesting, it feels more like a teaser trailer for some other movie. Maybe the creators are trying to make their own shared horror universe with all these haunted items going around? It could work, but placing all that intent into just one scene instead of sprinkling it throughout the entire film feels a bit shoehorned in. This entire section even looks and feels different from anything else in the movie.
In the end, Sound of Silence offers some cool ideas, and how it blends sound into the story is quite interesting. The final act goes into some very trippy and fascinating places when it comes to a ghost story, and it would have been interesting to see more of this. However, the bland characters, the slow pacing, and the uneventful plot really hurt the movie when it comes to the whole. The movie lacks cohesion; you can feel it in how it is divided and even how it ends. Cohesion is an element that should not be underestimated when it comes to a film’s enjoyment.