Silent Scream (DVD)

Starring Melissa Schuman, Scott Vickaryous, Shanti Lowry, Michael McKiddy, Peter Carey

Directed by Matt Cantu and Lance Kawas

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment

The original title of this film was The Retreat; at least it was until Lionsgate decided Silent Scream made a better title. To be fair, it is a better title. That still doesn’t change the fact that it has nothing in common with the film itself. There are no silent screams nor is there anything in the film that would make such a titling logical. The equally befuddling tagline is "No One Can Hear You." No one can year you what? Seriously, no one can hear you what? What does any of this have to do with the movie? Sometimes I wonder if the people at Lionsgate actually watch the movies they market.

A college psychology professor is sending a class of his students up to his secluded, snowbound, mountain retreat for – I don’t recall ever getting a fully clear explanation as to why other than it just being a good excuse to get a bunch of photogenic victims suffering from varying degrees of horniness together for a little one-by-one slashing. Half the class gets up to the cabin early and almost immediately fall victim to a mysterious killer. Most slasher movies would find a way to drag this out into a full length movie in its own right; Silent Scream‘s slasher wastes no time wiping out all but one of them in under 15-minutes. It really drove home what a waste of time so many slasher movies of this type are when you watch a killer that doesn’t hesitate to eliminate the prey in such quick fashion. Whoops; spoke too soon. The other half of the class arrives the next day and the cycle of idiocy, horniness, and death starts all over again; but this time out the stalking and slaying is indeed dragged out for the duration of the film.

Silent Scream is another prime example of a horror movie where the people that made it probably had a blast doing so but the end product is as routine a slasher flick as you’ll find highlighted only by a couple fits of amusing stupidity and a few flashes of boobery that momentarily snapped me out of my malaise. There’s just too much downtime waiting for the obvious to begin happening (for the second time) and the killings just aren’t all that impressive either. It starts off like a generic slasher movie condensed to about 15 minutes and then it starts over so that it can go through the motions a second time at regular speed.

If you need a surefire sign of how doomed this entire film was destined to be then look no further than the slasher’s wardrobe. Think of all the countless slasher movies of the past quarter of a century that have ripped off the look of Jason, Michael, Leatherface, Freddy, etc. Think about all those knock-offs that you’ve seen and then imagine how wrongheaded a slasher film must be when they’re blatantly ripping off the look of the wintercoat-wearing slasher from Urban Legend. It’s the exact same concept. A freakin’ faceless killer in a big heavy coat! Of all the movie slashers whose look they could have copied they chose this?

As for the mystery killer’s identity, it should be fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain. The film does try to throw you off with a totally nonsensical third act plot twist but it couldn’t leave bad enough alone. It then turns around and sets us up for one of those inexplicable twist-within-a-twist endings that makes only the faintest of sense. Honestly, if you think about it for even a fraction of a second, nothing about the slasher’s motivation for killing these people makes any damn sense.

But enough about the killer … What about Mark and Nicole? What about their troubled relationship? Oh, I so hope those two crazy lovebirds can get back together before the trap-springing, ax-swinging, knife-stabbing, eye-gouging, rope-strangling, water-drowning, bag-suffocating, face-stomping, gun-shooting homicidal maniac in the big parka overcoat kills them.

Lead actress Melissa Schuman was a member of the teen girl band Dream until she left to pursue an acting career. I’ll leave the sarcastic "How’s that workin’ out for ya?" punchline to you.

Finally, a word of advice: When you arrive at a cabin in the middle of nowhere, discover all your friends are missing and find a woman’s severed nipple in the snow, interpret that as a sign to get the hell out of there and not as a friend playing a practical joke. That one’s just common sense in my book. I don’t think the characters in this movie ever even heard of that book.

Special Features
Cast and crew interviews

1 1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit