Colby (Jeremiah Sayys) is a tortured man. Returning home after an apparently long time away, he’s greeted by a pile of overdue bills and late notices. Sad and alone, he’s haunted by past events, some of which come to light during the course of the independent feature, Of Silence. Deliberately-paced with its ultimate meaning left to interpretation, there’s no hand-holding in the movie; you’re left to make of it what you will.
I have my theories about what happens in Of Silence; however, revealing them may spoil the experience for anyone who reads them. Instead, I want to talk about the atmosphere and mood of the movie, which are reasons enough to invest time in watching it.
First of all, I assume the title refers to what comes from the silence of being physically alone while you’re being mentally tortured. Yet the most frightening element in Of Silence is the sound. Skittering noises and whispering voices lie in dark hallways and behind closed doors. Do they originate from Colby’s mind, or have his demons manifested into reality? As with most horror films, what the viewer’s imagination creates is far scarier than what the movie shows.
It’s not only the sound that’s scary, though, in Of Silence. At a few well-placed moments, we catch a brief glimpse of creatures in the shadows. My favorite sits up in bed beside Colby. It’s humanoid, but its head appears boxlike, covered in plastic. To me, that’s creepier than any drooling monster with jagged teeth.
Sayys is the producer, writer, director and star of the film, and he’s obviously quite talented in all areas. On screen, he’s a powerful presence who carries the “action”. Off screen, he’s used both sight and sound to convey a palpable sense of dread from a simple story. I haven’t seen his other feature, The Legends of Nethiah, but the synopsis sounds like Sayys is fascinated by the subject of the imagination. Here, the result of the imagination is very dark indeed.
My only quibble with Of Silence is the chronology of the story. Soon after Colby arrives home, his family visits to celebrate his birthday. They are laughing and cheery, with no acknowledgment of the tragedy he’s experienced. It doesn’t seem like the party is appropriate, although I suppose it provides a contrast for the grief he feels as well as demonstrates a state of mind that’s the polar opposite of his.
Of Silence is an unexpected treat. It’s definitely not action-packed; however, it nevertheless transports you to the far recesses of the imagination. It’s not exactly what happens in the movie as it is how it happens, and sometimes you want to watch something that doesn’t just entertain, but also puts you in a different frame of mind. Few big-budget movies do what this (I assume) low-budget one does: make an emotional connection with the viewer.