Saturday, October 29, 2016

In short: Sounds of Silence (1989)

Peter Mitchell (Peter Nelson) inherits a house in Sweden from an aunt he never heard about before. Instead of just selling the place off from back home in LA, he packs in his girlfriend writer and grown-up of the relationship Sarah (Kristen Jensen) and her deaf-mute son Dennis (Dennis Castillo) for a nice little holiday on his new Swedish property.

The “house” turns out to be rather large mansion situated near the sort of village where horrible secrets of the past are buried, and guests from afar are treated with communal silence in the village pub. At least Dennis finds a friend rather quickly. Admittedly, little Bill (Jonas Ivarsson) is dressed in rags, blue in the face, the son of the dead aunt and a ghost but BFFs are BFFs, right? As it goes with the more personable type of ghost Bill certainly belongs to, the dead boy needs help with disclosing above-mentioned secrets which have something to do with the death of all the children of Bill’s orphanage decades ago, or rather, the people actually responsible for that. That, and bloody ghostly revenge, of course.

Peter Borg’s Swedish/American co-production (with a heavy emphasis on the Swedish part) is a nice little bit of ghostly horror. It is neither subtle nor original, but it tells its generic story earnestly and convincingly enough for it to become enjoyable, and manages to finish on a strong and atmospheric finale. In between, there’s lots of dry ice, some serious “Man is the greatest monster of them all” business, a perfectly crap synthesizer soundtrack, and many a scene which greatly resembles other books and movies without Sounds of Silence ever becoming a complete rip-off of other films.

Rather, it plays out as a traditionalist film out to tell a traditional ghost story with pleasant directness; as it sometimes happens with this kind of film, it stumbles on a moody shot, a creepy scene or an interesting variation of the usual rather often, and ends up a pleasant way to while away an evening in the lonesome October.

No comments: