What would you do if the world as you know it, where humans have the supremacy and can handle nature at will, suddenly one day ceases to exist? What if an act as simple as communicating through speech ends up becoming a death sentence?
Those are the questions that American director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) attempts to answer in his most recent film, a horror flick aptly titled The Silence – based on the 2015 novel of the same, written by the british autor Tim Lebbon.
Now, if as it usually happens in movies of this genre, you have been left with one or another doubt, question or need of clarification about this film, do not worry, because right away and without further we will analyze it in deep. ¡Let’s Explain!
1 | Does the Silence have post-credit scenes?
If you watched the entire 90 minutes of this movie, and you ended up like what? is that all? or you were waiting for some clarification that never happened, I have to inform you that there is no scene after the credits begin to roll. Although ultimately the end of the film does have much potential for a sequel, or even better, for a series that continues the saga. It is much more interesting to see a world fallen into disgrace on account of the Vesps than -saying – zombies.
2 | Did The Silence copied A Quiet Place?
Netflix had not finished to release The Silence online, when there was already an incensed horde with banners and torches in hands complaining about how similar it is with the 2018 film, A Quiet Place. Some going so far as to call it a plagiarism or a copy. The truth is that there is nothing further from reality.
Although the theme is similar, with creatures capable of killing anything that makes noise, a deaf daughter and the escape to the field, the truth is that if there is something that is a copy in this matter it is not the Netflix movie, but the one starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.
Just do the maths. A Quiet Place was released in 2018, three years after the release of Tim Lebbon’s novel The Silence – the source material for the Netflix movie – and there have been successful plagiarism lawsuits, with much less in common than the 2018 film has with the 2015 novel. Trust me.
3 | What exactly are the creatures in The Silence? Where did they come from?
The vesps, are creatures that were locked in an underground ecosystem with at least one large area below the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. Although this underground area could be much larger than the Appalachian Mountains themselves.
This underground ecosystem has had to remain isolated from the ecosystems of the upper part of the lithosphere, but with some type of oxygen input, because obviously the vesps fly very comfortable on the surface, breathing the same air as humans.
The same film reports that these creatures were originally something totally different, that due to the isolation conditions in which they were trapped, they evolved in that particular way that for humans is monstrous.
The reproduction by means of external eggs and the ability to fly indicate that initially they were birds, or some type of animal from the group of archosaurs … that is, the group that includes the birds, the dinosaurs (many of which flew) and the crocodiles. Perhaps something closer to the latter since they later prove to be cold-blooded.
Although it might seem that the vesps are more similar to bats, because they do not have feathers, and right there, they do not have scales, and they also have those horrible teeth, in openings that have more resemblance to snouts, than to beakes, the truth is that for a mammal, including the bat, to evolve to the point of laying eggs, many more mutations are required than for a bird to lose its feathers and adapt its beak.
In fact, the rapid adaptation of beaks in birds is one of the characteristics that Darwin used to explain his theory of evolution.
4 | Why do they call them Vesps?
Ally explains to her parents that the monstrous creatures are called Vesps, because they fly in swarms, like wasps, avispas in Spanish. And you can make Avispas into Visps, and then into Vesps. Basic spanish, gentlemen, basic spanish.
5 | What condition is Ally’s? Why can not she listen, if he can speak well?
Because at 13, Ally (Kiernan Shipka) suffered an accident with her paternal grandparents, in which they died and in which she lost her hearing. Now, since Ally had already learned to speak normally, it was much easier for her to adapt her already acquired ability to speak despite her hearing problem.
In fact, many people who are born without being able to listen never manage to oralize, despite having no problem at all in their vocal tract. This is painfully true in third world countries where diverse education has never been a flag or priority.
6 | If Ally can make herself understood in words, why does she and her family use sign language?
Ally is not only able to be understood, orally, but is able to read lips, so in theory it is perfectly possible for her to maintain a communication with a hearing person without using another means, so why then she and all her family learned sign language?
Basically because now Ally is part of two worlds, the one of the hearings, since in their family they all hear … and that of the non-hearings, in which she can very likely find a totally understanding environment with her condition.
In addition, one of the first things that are observed when being in contact with non-hearing people – and I say this because I attended a basic course in sign language – is that lip reading and oralization involve a tremendous effort on the part of the deaf person and the results are not always the best. On the other hand, using sign language communication is fluid, simple and with very few problems for the interlocutors.
It is because of this ease of communication, and to avoid unnecessary overstress to Ally that her family decides to also learn the ASL – American Sign Language.
7 | What relationship did Ally have with Rob?
Rob (Dempsey Bryk) is a hearing boy, about the same age as Ally, whose attraction and admiration for the deaf girl motivates him to learn sign language, perhaps with the hope of being able to date her someday. Although at the beginning of the film, the only thing they have shared is a tender and innocent kiss. Could it be that at the end of the film Ally is still a virgin?
8 | Exactly how many of these creatures came out of the caves?
At the beginning of the film it is reported in the news that in a matter of hours, the vesps practically besieged the main cities on the East Coast, after which they moved on to smaller towns.
If we only use the population of the Northeast Megalopolis (Boston-New York – Philadelphia – Washington) as a basis of calculation, and we put that there is one creature per 100 inhabitants, we would be talking about at least half a million of these creatures, a number that will soon, at the speed they reproduce, with an incubation period of hours, will grow exponentially.
9 | Why do vesps hunt sound?
Having evolved by thousands, or even millions of years in that underground ecosystem without light, the original creatures that survived, did so by having a much sharper sense of hearing than the others, which allowed them to get food much faster than those with a thinner ear. In that same order of ideas, a mutation that implies blindness or elimination of the eyes, does not result in a disadvantage.
The acuity of the hearing sense, after centuries of isolation, when leaving to an environment full of noise like the one on the surface, induces them to eliminate the source of the noise as quickly as possible. Like when you have a headache and someone turns their music loud and if – by the way, the origin of the noise is a living being that you can use as a nest for your eggs, double win.
10 | Why did the Andrews leave Glenn behind? Why did they sacrifice the dog?
After the Andrews learned that the East Coast was under attack by the vesps, they decided to take a drive away from any source of noise, that is, a trip away from the cities. Glenn (John Corbett) was intimately linked to the Andrews, and although much can be theorized about the type of relationship he had with Hugh (Stanley Tucci) and Kelly (Miranda Otto) … the truth is that in addition to being a business partner to Hugh, he lived without any problems in his house and had seen his children growing.
Therefore, after suffering an accident that made it impossible to get him out of the car, Glenn asked Hugh to leave him there and leave, as the only way to survive. Now, back to the car, Ally’s dog, altered in the presence of the vesps, begins to bark as a primary defense method, but all he does is attract more vesps. Hugh, seeing that the whole family is in danger, decides that it is best to let the dog go. Which was quite humanitarian. Anyone else would have euthanized him right there.
11 | Who are the people who try to kidnap Ally? Why do they want it?
If someday a cataclysm takes place on a global scale in Planet Earth, the first thing that will happen afterwards is that the survivors will return to the Middle Ages. That is almost indisputable. The cataclysms and tragedies exacerbate the religious sense and even more, the religious fanaticism that a few survivors take advantage of to satisfy their asleep thirst of power. A state of backwardness and disconnection that is shown in this and all the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic movies.
In The Silence we see one of those groups, definitely a fundamentalist Christian group, who believes that the vesps are a divine punishment, or at least, that is what the leader of the sect, the Reverend (Billy MacLellan) wants them to believe in order to keep them under control. The sect discovers Ally and Hugh by accident in a town when they were looking for antibiotics for Kelly, who had been bitten by vesps. Days later we see that members of the sect arrive at the house that the Andrews had taken as a refuge and try to convince them, but it seems that they do not accept a no as an answer.
The members of the sect, use a girl as a bait to distract the Andrews and thus be able to take Ally. At first it seemed that the sect believed that Ally was some kind of divine envoy, a goddess or something similar, as often happens in this type of film, but apparently the only thing they are interested in is to be able to procreate with her, to use her as sexual slave in some kind of new world order in the style of The Handmaid’s Tale. Creepy, isn’t it?
12 | Where is the refuge and how did the Andrews get there?
At the end of the film and thanks to the information that Ally obtains on the Internet, the Andrews decide to go north, where the intense cold seems to weaken the vesps. Once on the road, Ally manages to communicate with Rob and he indicates her the exact coordinates, but where is the refuge?
Considering that the Andrews live in the suburbs of New Jersey, relatively close to the Appalachian Mountains, and that they reached the refuge by foot, and that they could carry food, well for a week, we can figure the refuge must be in Canada, or very close to the border, around Montreal.
Curiously, it is in Canada where the film is filmed, in Toronto, in the Great Lakes, much closer to Chicago than to New York or Montreal.
13 | What does the end of The Silence mean?
In the final scene of the film, we see how a vesp protects its eggs placed in the abdomen of a human corpse, but is quickly eliminated by an arrow shot by Ally.
The meaning of this final scene is very well explained by Ally and goes far beyond the survival of the Andrews, and of the now official relationship between her and Rob.
The final message is survival. Human beings have adapted for millions of years, in which we went from being almost at the bottom of the food chain, to being indisputably at the top. But the vesps are also an example of extreme and prolonged adaptation, that is why it was so easy for them to submit a full country within hours.
The question is whether human beings will adapt to this new reality, just as they have adapted to so many others, having an alpha predator as a rival. The film gives a glimmer of hope, not all is lost to the human race, but everything depends on unity and change. Perhaps in that world in two or three generations the speech has been completely lost and everyone ends up speaking fluently with signs.
14 | What is the message of the movie?
No doubt the message, the premise of the film, goes through the recognition of crises and disadvantages, as opportunities. Human beings, especially in this era in which it is very easy to live pampered with electric power, permanent water, internet, education and economic medicines, the emergence of a problem, or a physical impediment, perhaps a disease is sufficient reason to feel defeated or sunk
However, as we see that it happened to Ally, that impediment that at first seemed to be a serious disadvantage in facing the world, being victim even of ridicule, ends up being the key to her survival and that of her family. Perhaps if we look for the opportunity locked in the crisis, instead of throwing ourselves to die in a sea of lamentations, we will have a comparative advantage that in the end could be much more useful than we expected.
Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. See you in another post of Explained, here on El Sabanero X.