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Film Review: Silent Scream (2005)

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Silent-Scream-The-Retreat-2005-movie-(2)SYNOPSIS:

Set in the deep freeze of a northern Michigan winter, when a group of college students volunteer to assist their psychology professor with his research, their weekend retreat turns into a nightmare.

 REVIEW:

A group of college students have been assisting their professor in his psychology research, and as a reward, he gives them the keys to his ‘retreat’; a cabin in the cold, snowy Michigan woods. The first group arrive early, with some of their party lost of the icy road as their car breaks down. The rest don’t seem concerned though, wasting no time starting into the tequila, while two attractive girls are trying to lure heartbroken Mark (Scott Vickaryous) into the sack. He’s too upset over his girlfriend Nicole (Melissa Schuman) breaking up with him though, and opts to get blind drunk instead.

It’s probably for the best, as while he’s unconscious, a hooded killer begins murdering his college pals in gruesome ways. The next morning, he wakes up, finding the cabin empty. Soon the second group arrives though, including Nicole. They are initially suspicious over the disappearance of everyone else, and it doesn’t take long for the bodies to start showing up. Just why is the killer after them? And will they make it out of the woods alive?

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Describing plot details for a film like ‘Silent Scream’ seems pointless; made during the post-2000 boom of straight-to-DVD horror, you can expect certain things, and plot certainly isn’t one of them. What you get instead is terrible editing, no sense of pace, P*rn-level acting and a sprinkling of nudity and gore to keep you ticking over. Is it enough to justify sitting through Silent Scream, though?

Probably my biggest issue with these sorts of films is just how unlikable they’ve made the characters. It seems to be a misconception that every slasher made in the 80’s was stuffed full of obnoxious dialogue and horrific frat-boy antics. Sure, it was a part of some of them, but even the ones with those kinds of characters usually had some level of restraint, and several characters you cared enough about to see them through to the finale. Not so much here. All characters are paper thin, some are indistinguishable from the other (the two naked girls at the start, for example) and the ones we should be rooting for are just as irritating and loud as the ones getting killed.

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This all stems from a script that is poorly constructed and filled with awful lines that aren’t helped by the flat delivery. The film opens with a murder scene that we then find out hasn’t happened yet, and when it’s supposed to occur in the timeline of events in the film it gets skipped over, only to be featured in a flashback later on. Desperate editing or just a bad script? It’s hard to tell, really. This same lack of care runs throughout the rest of the film, with a huge amount of the murders happening within the first ten minutes, along with the nudity. We do get plenty of other kills later, but it makes the film feel lop-sided, with little to do up until around the one-hour mark. At this point you are probably going to wish the film was only 70 minutes, but a terrible, clichéd twist gets rolled out (one that most teachers of a class full of ten year olds probably see in essays all the time) and the film has the audacity to still keep going for another 10 or 15 minutes, leaving one of the soggiest, dull and pointless endings in recent memory.

Saying that, the film does have a few plus points. The gore is only moderate, but at least one or two of the kills are interesting. Some happen off screen though, which I can only attribute to the budget. Nudity is plentiful, with one actress being topless for several minutes in a scene. Is it worth watching for the gore and nudity? Hardly, but it makes the experience that more bearable. There are a few moments when the humour works, and you wonder why they didn’t just go all-out on the comedy aspects from the start. A special mention must be made of the soundtrack, which was horrific. Rave music with guitars doesn’t make for a suspenseful watch, and the less said about the music the three girls dance to in the kitchen, the better.

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Silent Scream is hardly worth seeking out. You’ve seen this film before, only with better acting, better editing, better gore, and more nudity. Strictly for fans of wannabe 80’s slashers, everyone else can avoid.

One comment

  1. 03-05-2017/Legionary, I have seen worst horror films ( big box office ones with puny image of serial killers, and low budget ones using cheap cameras such as cell phones ). I like this one simply for the reasonable kill count , and characters are corrupt, lost souls, same roles as it was before in a slasher films. The interesting plot was the intention of the professor why he invited the students in the cottage, ” military exercise in killing for a private defense contractor “…Passing grade C or Two stars…

     

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