If you’re going to have a conventional slasher flick, it’s good to have a gimmick or two since audiences nowadays have seen the standard home invasion/hillbilly kidnapping enough to be bored of it. The main gimmick in this was less about trying to make the killer interesting but in providing a twist on the victim in the form of her being a deaf mute. So now you have someone that can’t hear the killer coming and can’t even call for help. Which would be a serious hindrance if the killer in this movie was the dumbest slasher I’ve seen in a while. More on that later.
The story follows the aforementioned deaf mute character of Maddie who is living alone in a big house out in the middle of the woods somewhere. Sadly, that is prime hunting ground for crazy murderers in masks. Now she is trapped in her own home as the killer outside toys with her. With the power cut and her phone in the hands of the killer, she has to try to defend herself against a threat she can’t hear. Thankfully, the killer is more interested in dicking around and taunting her instead of killing her. Lucky for the killer, Maddie also seems more intent on running around like an idiot than doing anything useful. It’s a race to see who can be less incompetent by the end of the film.
Seriously though, if you want a movie where you will be constantly yelling at the screen because the characters are constantly making bad decisions, this is the one you’ve been searching for. The killer originally discovers that Maddie is deaf when a victim runs to her door and bangs on it only to have her cries for help go ignored. Right off the bat, killer has dumb luck that she is deaf since if she wasn’t; she helps her friend and calls the cops and the day is saved. Then he spends the movie not really trying to kill her even after she has stabbed him, almost succeeded at escape twice, and is more trouble than he might have thought to start with. Maddie is equally as bad continually being in situations where the killer is compromised and she just makes a token attack and then runs back into the house rather than, say, actually stabbing the every loving Christ out of this guy. Also, she is an idiot that gets her friend killed.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t some very good things to recommend about the movie. The direction is quite good with the movie going back and forth between silence and sound in some interesting places. The tension of a killer is definitely ramped up in those scenes where you allow yourself to be immersed in the idea of being unable to rely on such a key sense to telling if danger is coming. The actors even do a good job of being compelling, which I give kudos for to Kate Siegel playing Maddie since it can’t be easy emoting without words and not just coming off as a giant ham. However, most of the things that were supposed to make this more of a “psychological thriller” with the taunting murder do just end up making it seem like everyone is being stupid for no reason.
Overall, the film is entertaining, well-constructed, and well-acted. I can see people not having the same degree of bemused annoyance at the character that I did but it was still distracting for me. I’d give the movie a 3.5 out of 5.
Favorite thing in the movie: The opening scene’s focus on sound while cooking that slowly fades to nothing as Maddie is introduced.
Least favorite thing: At one point Maddie decides her only course of action is to kill the killer in a fairly cool scene and then she immediately goes right back to just running into the house and making shitty choices.