Silencio (2019)
Silencio (2019)

Genre: Drama and Mystery Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min.

Release Date: May 14th, 2019 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Lorena Villarreal Actors: Melina Matthews, Michel Chauvet, Rupert Graves, John Noble, Hoze Melendez, Ian Garcia Monterrubio

 


 

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n July 11, 1970, in a desert area known as the Zone of Silence, Mexico, a U.S. missile unexplainably crashes and explodes, scattering the area with debris. This particular location is considered the Bermuda Triangle of Mexico, what with its isolation, its inability to be pierced by radio transmissions (due to massive magnetic distortions), and the frequent discovery of mutated creatures and other environmental oddities. Radioactive cobalt 57 and uranium are the first things discovered by a team of scientists sent to survey the destruction, headed by Dr. James White (John Noble). When his foolhardy young assistant, Peter, nearly handles an unstable meteorite sample with his bare hands, White accidentally snatches it himself, teleporting them both to years before, when the doctor lost his entire family to a freak road accident. With this rare opportunity to meddle in past events, he manages to save little granddaughter Ana, who had originally perished in the car wreck.

In present day, therapist Dr. Ana White (Melina Matthews) welcomes the troubled Daniel (Michel Chauvet), who has a special gift: he sees the spirits of dead people, who ask him to convey messages to their loved ones (which is, almost offensively, identical to the catch in “The Sixth Sense”). Daniel mentions that Ana’s sister, Lisa, who died on the roadway that fateful day years ago, beseeches Ana to seek out a powerful stone belonging to her grandfather, who now suffers from a degenerative brain disease. Her life is in grave danger, though Ana is incredulous. And Professor Peter (Rupert Graves), now a specialist in Zone of Silence research, may know a great deal about that mysterious, potentially deadly artifact.

The film is supposedly inspired by true events, though it’s obviously debatable as to how much of it has any basis in reality. The Zone of Silence may be a real place, along with the 1970 rocket crash, but those elements are steeped in urban legends; and the puzzling locale’s radio-signal-impenetrability isn’t even completely factual. Nevertheless, that line of advertisement lends to some unnerving happenings, which play better when audiences are coaxed into embracing the more unbelievable aspects.

Despite the potential for supernatural horrors, “Silencio” opts instead for a hint of mystery, a touch of suspense, and generous portions of familial minutiae. Flashbacks continually fill in gaps, detailing James’ relationship with Ana, though they also surface to flesh out events in the present day that happened mere minutes earlier (a pointless, frustrating editing choice). And it’s not the only thing that is irritating, as characters routinely behave contrary to reason: when in danger, they’re quick to open the door to strangers; when given opportunities to outmaneuver threats, they squander sizable chunks of time; and when presented with peril, they dive in, rather than avoiding it.

Eventually, the story goes off the rails; the clairvoyance facets become the least problematic issues for suspending disbelief. Time travel, the butterfly effect, swapping one life for another, helpful phantasms, and a treasure map combine for an unexpectedly plain, practically quiet adventure, during which countless scenarios for thrills result in shocking blandness. Clearly, “Silencio” is concerned with positive spirituality as opposed to eerie hauntings. Nevertheless, there are a couple of amusing twists, even though they have simple enough solutions to their sudden conundrums. With a larger budget – or perhaps better direction (and certainly better editing) – this plot could have been vastly more engaging; key concepts possess a wealth of potential.

– Mike Massie

  • 5/10