Kiernan Shipka’s Controversial New Horror Movie The Silence Is Part of a Growing Trend

The Silence
Courtesy Netflix

There’s a new entry into the pantheon of horror movies about sensory deprivation: Netflix’s The Silence, out next month. Starring Kiernan Shipka and Stanley Tucci, the film depicts a world plagued by monsters who hunt by sound (sound familiar yet?); Shipka, somewhat controversially, plays a deaf teen (again, sounding familiar?) who’s the daughter of Tucci and Miranda Otto’s characters. On the run, the family encounters a cult eager to exploit Shipka’s otherwise-heightened senses

Though it’s already garnered comparisons to A Quiet Place and Bird Box, two recent post-apocalyptic horror movies about various forms of sensory deprivation, the new trailer for The Silence, released by Netflix Friday, looks more like a monstrous version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. The creatures, whatever they are, perch on power lines and wheel in circles overhead, dive-bombing unfortunate passersby who happen to make any sound, even as small as a cough.

But it also depicts a hollowed-out United States: the subway at Times Square-42nd St., ghostly and deserted (a fantasy world more than a horror movie, in this instance); jammed intersections of abandoned cars streaked with blood (back to horror). “Entire regions of the country are being wiped off the map,” Shipka’s character whispers in the trailer. “It’s like we’re back in the dark ages,” Tucci murmurs, one hand on a television set that’s projecting only static.

The parallels between The Silence and John Krasinski’s breakout horror film A Quiet Place are uncanny, but the perils of sight, sound, touch, and taste have recently provided fertile inspiration for horror filmmakers. In 2016, Don’t Breathe, Hush, and Lights Out all premiered; last year, Bird Box, in which Sandra Bullock shepherds a couple children across a hollowed-out landscape, became one of Netflix’s most-watched (and most-memed) releases; and Jason Momoa’s forthcoming Apple streaming series, See, takes place in an imagined future in which humans have lost the sense of sight. In these films—which the Mary Sue described as “sensory horror”—the scariest thing, it seems, is that our very way of apprehending the world, of interfacing with our environment, might betray us.

See the full trailer for The Silence, below.