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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Silent But Deadly

The Silencing (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

mischievous boy w/slingFrom Echo Falls (pop 11514,) Minnesota, “hometown born and raised” Alice Gustafson (Annabelle Wallis) went to a “fancy college” in Chicago after her folks passed away, only to return to run locally for sheriff in a field different from her training; she wants to cover for her messed up younger brother Brooks (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) whom she'd left behind. She's two months into her first term when an atypical body is fished from the river, that of a girl whom forensics determine was hunted for sport. Alice is basically flailing in her investi­gation lacking even TV cop show smarts.

Experienced hunter Rayburn Swanson (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) had a fourteen-year-old daughter Gwen (Brielle Robillard) who went missing five years ago. He's dedicated a 50 square mile wild­life sanctuary in her honor. His wife Debbie (Melanie Scrofano) left him and married tribal police­man Karl Black­hawk (Zahn McClarnon) by whom she is now pregnant. Rayburn got to keep their aging pet collie Thor. And for a friend he's still got the bottle. He puts up MISSING flyers all over town but without much hope.

The huntsman on the other hand is a savvy adversary. He only takes girls who won't be missed. While on the hunt he's dressed in a ghillie suit so nobody recognizes him. He uses silent but effective primitive weapons and has rendered his prey mute so they can't scream. He releases them bare­foot in the woods to limit their travel, and he makes sure they're dressed light so they'll succumb to the elements should they elude him till nightfall.

His latest target Molly Johnson (Charlotte Lindsay Marron) veers into the wild­life sanctuary and is picked up on camera. Thor alerts to the monitor and Rayburn swings into action. Mean­while, Sheriff Gustafson has decided to swing by Rayburn's place on some routine police business. There is a whole shirt­storm about to descend on somebody's head.


Some major events held deep in our collective memory have so affected our psyche that if a writer can tap into them, he's ratcheted his story's impact way up there. The opening of “The Silencing” dwells long on a pristine forest, its water­shed, and a body floating on the surface. A murder victim as it turns out. Well, the deluge had scarcely drained before God let us know how we are to regard murder in our newly cleansed world. Capital punishment is enjoined in Gen. 9:6. Political science scholar Mark Greaney shares some pertinent thoughts in a novel:

“A British national in Manila, they walked in on him raping a little kid. I don't know how little, but with all the sh!t these guys had seen, what­ever they saw in that room, they absolutely snapped. My buddy grabbed the sex tourist by the throat and squeezed, didn't stop squeezing till he ripped the mother­effer's wind­pipe out. Dude bled out right there.—”

“That's not Satan's work,” I counter. “That's God's work.”

“Yeah, no sh!t. But the Philippine government didn't agree.” (383)

American flagWe find something similar in this movie. When they're after the serial killer, Rayburn is of a mind that, “This man needs to die for what he did to my daughter.” Alice is of the opinion that he should “rot in jail.” She's got a little American flag set up on her desk, believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Minnesota evidently hasn't got the death penalty, and they've got to sort through their situation.

Same with liberty for that matter. Minnesota is a northern state, not that it matters after the Civil War. Early in the movie Rayburn confronts the Glum brothers (Josh Cruddas & Caleb Ells­worth-Clark) for poaching deer on his sanctuary. They mock him saying he won't miss one animal because, “It's a g.d. zoo around here.” He's like Noah and his floating zoological garden.

Rayburn returns to his cabin on the lake, which resembled in form a beached ark. Its roof is so patched up as to indicate it's seen plenty of rain in its day. Soon arriving are some children on a field trip, of all ethnic types, to learn about Rayburn's sanctuary. All the world is going to learn about Noah's exploit, passed down by his three sons and his grand­children: (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.” God is looking at the group(s) over­spreading the Earth. Ham being an odd man out was paired with his youngest son Canaan in the biblical narrative. Shem & Japheth were what remained of the three bros.

The group leader Mrs. Berg (Lisa Cromarty) asks him if he isn't intoxicated, and he replies that the kids won't notice. Right! Noah's intoxication is part of the narrative that's been passed down. (Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” In our movie a hostage having been exposed to cold is covered with a space blanket when rescued. The serial killer deliberately leaves his victims exposed.

(Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Japheth was to be integrated with (to dwell in the tents of) blessed Shem. From Shem come the Semites, of course. Writer Bodie Hodge holds forth that: “Generally, from the Middle East in the land of Shinar (modern-day Iraq, where Babel was), Japheth's descendants went north toward Europe and Asia, Ham's went toward Africa, and Shem's remained in the Middle East” (183). The servitude of Ham as passing to his youngest son Canaan also encompassed his eldest son Cush, see Gen. 10:6. Cush is Hebrew for black, whose descendants settled mostly in Africa. Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse applicable to the whole family. (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.”

In the supplemental material that came with the DVD is a section on the making of a silent weapon. Details are given on how to make an atlatl a stone age spear-throwing device still in use in some remote places or for sport. It ends with a picture of a lithe-limbed black wielding an atlatl with spear.

This movie, though, focuses on a divergent line of Ham. Cush is the oldest son of Ham who is Noah's youngest. In the Bible we find Nimrod a “mighty hunter:” (Gen. 10:8-9) “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: where­fore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” The movie develops a serial killer as a consummate hunter, and Nimrod for his part got into all kinds of trouble founding the wicked city of Babylon and building the rebellious Tower of Babel.

(Gen. 11:1-4) “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” This was a great unifying construction project contrary to God's command to spread out on the Earth.

(Gen. 11:5-9) “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not under­stand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. There­fore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” The movie's killer in a sick imitation of this story has cut the vocal chords of those he victimizes so they can't call for help, i.e. in their pursuit of happiness of escape, by screaming—a universal language. He only picks losers and doesn't want their losing mentality to spread further. God restricted our speech so we couldn't spread our losing ideas without limit.

Production Values

” (2020) was directed by Robin Pront. It was written by Micah Ranum. It stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Annabelle Wallis, and Hero Fiennes Tiffin. Coster-Waldau was a wise choice for lead man and acquitted him­self very well in that role. Wallis did an excellent job in the role of sheriff. The other actors were fair to middling with the exception of a child actor (Leland Assinewai) with lines who only confirms the premise it's hard working with children.

MPAA rated it R for violence, some disturbing images, and language. It was filmed in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada for its scenic vistas (lots of trees and water) and quaint town, and also in the USA. It's 1½ hours long. The camera­man makes good use of creative angles. It's light on character development figuring WYSIWYG. The atmosphere is Canadian: nothing to write home about.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This is a low budget film that gets high marks from me because I liked it a lot. But then I'm easy to please. If you like a good yarn where the solitary car chase features parked vehicles and a car that won't start, then we've got us a winner. The villain is pretty creepy, but you've probably got that figured out by now.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

The Book of Jasher. Trans­lated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, Web.

Greaney, Mark. One Minute Out. Copyright © 2020 by Mark Greaney Books LLC. New York: Berkley, 2020. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.