March 14, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Alessandro Antonaci, Daniel Lascar and Stefano Mandalà
Some language in Italian with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in Italy and briefly in New York City, the supernatural horror film “Sound of Silence” features an all-white cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: A New York City-based aspiring singer travels to her Italy with her boyfriend after her parents are injured in a mysterious incident, and she finds out that her parents’ home in Italy is haunted by a vengeful spirit.
Culture Audience: “Sound of Silence” will appeal primarily to people who want to experience some ghost images and loud noises in a monotonous and predictable horror movie.
The horror movie “Sound of Silence” over-relies on annoying sound effects as a distraction from the very limp and predictable story. Note to filmmakers: Repeating loud noises doesn’t automatically make a horror movie scary. Unfortunately, “Sound of Silence” is also hindered by substandard acting for underdeveloped characters that are just hollow vessels in a cliché-ridden and vapid story with an idiotic ending.
It’s usually not a good sign when a non-anthology film is written and directed by three or more people, because it usually results in the film having “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome. “Sound of Silence” was written and directed by Alessandro Antonaci, Daniel Lascar, Stefano Mandalà (collectively known as T3), which means it took three people to write and direct a lousy flim with a flimsy plot. It’s yet another “haunted house” film where a vengeful spirit is inflicting terror on people in the house. It’s okay to have this over-used concept in a horror movie if the movie has a great story with credible acting. It’s not okay if the movie is just a waste of time with bad acting and tedious storytelling that is more irritating than scary.
“Sound of Silence” (which is a very darkly lit film) begins in an unnamed city in Italy, where middle-aged Peter Wilson (played by Peter Stephen Wolmarans) is fiddling with an old radio in his attic. The radio is shaped like the upper half of an oval. Peter’s wife Margherita Wilson (played by Alessandra Pizzullo) briefly appears in the room to tell Peter to come downstairs in about 15 minutes for dinner. After she leaves, Peter notices that every time he turns on the radio, a ghostly figure of a woman appears and gets closer to him every time. After Peter turns the radio on and off several times, the next time he turns on the radio, the woman suddenly goes up to him and strangles him.
Meanwhile, Peter’s daughter Emma Wilson (played by Penelope Sangiorgi) is a New York City-based aspiriing singer whose career has been stalling because she has panic attacks every time she goes to an audition, often in front of the same judges. The movie shows one such audition, where Emma shows up but then doesn’t say a word when she gets in the audition room and then quickly leaves. Emma has a supportive live-in boyfriend named Seba (played by Rocco Marazzita), who encourages Emma to not give up on her dreams.
One day, Emma gets a call from Italy telling her that her father Peter is in a hospital because he has broken ribs and a concussion. Emma and Seba go to Italy, where the hospital doctor (played by Alessandro Marmorini) tells Emma that Margherita has defensive bruises on her face and arms. The doctor tactfully suggests to Emma that Margherita might be the victim of domestic abuse and is lying about it to protect Peter. Meanwhile, Margherita makes this comment to Emma about Peter: “He tried to kill me, but he wasn’t your father.” It’s at this point you know there is also going to be a ghostly possession angle to this movie.
The rest of “Sound of Silence” is a repetitive slog of Emma revisiting the attic and a home recording studio that her parents built for her when she lived in the house. Emma discovers the radio in the attic, as well as the radio’s connection to the ghost lurking around this dark and dreary house. Then there’s some nonsense about the people in the house being paranoid about the ghosts hearing their conversations. And so, the people in the house have to communicate in silence—or if they talk out loud, Emma wants to something in the room at a noisy volume to drown out the conversation.
Expect to hear the blaring sounds of radio/TV static and screaming turned up to obnoxious levels throughout “Sound of Silence.” Other characters in this muddled movie include a woman named Angelica (played by Lucia Caporaso), a girl named Alice (played by Chiara Casolari) and a man named Claudio (played by Claudio Dughera). It all just leads to a very underwhelming revelation and a very silly last scene hinting at a “Sound of Silence” sequel that probably will never get made.
XYZ Films released “Sound of Silence” on March 9, 2023.