Silence Becomes You (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Silence Becomes you is a straight to vid filmed in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Let me shout out a "Stop!" before you run out to Blockbuster to get it. I know it sounds terrific so far, but there are some other things you should know.

Alicia Silverstone and Sienna Guillory co-star in what is essentially a three person play about a couple of strange sisters who bring home a drifter for ... well, I guess their mysterious purpose is kind of the point of the movie. You're supposed to figure out exactly why they have brought him back to their mansion and why they are so odd and reclusive to begin with. All of that is basically revealed in flashbacks.

In the present time, the drifter falls in love with one of the sisters, she seems to reciprocate, and this causes the other sister to become crazy with jealousy. It's not what you think. The jealous sister doesn't want the guy for herself. You see, they brought the guy home for a specific purpose, and if sis falls in love with him, it will spoil the grand design. Moreover, the two girls have lives which are so intertwined with one another and their old house that the jealous sister cannot bear the thought that her only companion might venture into the outside world.

The story functions somewhere between a ghost story and a psychological drama. Although the audience sees ghosts, for example, they turn out not to be real, but memories as seen in the eyes of one character or another. Sometimes they just seem to be metaphorical ghosts. This is the kind of film where the audience is kept interested by trying to guess the secrets. "Are the sisters ghosts? Are they crazy? Were they originally planning to murder their guest? Will the jealous sister murder the guest to retain her special relationship with her sister? Just why do they behave the way they do?" 

In order to keep the audience guessing about these matters, the script introduces a few elements that seem paranormal. I found that annoying because the final explanation turned out to be purely psychological, not paranormal, and the previous supernatural incidents were never explained. In other words, they were just in there as red herrings to keep us guessing. I have nothing against that in principle. No good sleight-of-hand can exist without some misdirection, and even the best directors use some red herrings, but it is essential that the false clues must fit into the final explanation, and that was not the case here. To give one example, when Silverstone tried to run away with the drifter, the other sister (Guillory) started to burn Silverstone's picture. As the picture burned, the camera switched to Silverstone, who was reacting in pain as if the picture had been a voodoo doll. When Guillory had a change of heart and doused the flames, Silverstone's pains stopped immediately. So my question is this - if the final explanation for the girl's behavior is scientific and exists entirely in the real universe, as we are ultimately led to believe, then how do you explain the voodoo doll effect? My take on it is that the incident was just cobbled in there to allow the scriptwriter to deepen the mystery by suggesting that the sisters had some kind of unearthly connection. Yet that did not conform to the ultimate explanation. That's cheating.

I found some other elements of the film quite annoying as well. (1) Alicia Silverstone must have done ten sex scenes in this film, and never showed any kind of flesh at all - not even a good look down a nightgown. I suppose there are those who would be entertained by a profusion of fully-dressed sex scenes, but I do not count myself among them. Sex scenes can be boring even when they are performed by beautiful naked people, but they show a movie to a funereal pace when they involve average people who are completely covered. By the way, Sienna Guillory offered up a fairly hot topless sex scene to atone for Silverstone's reticence. One wonders how different the film and the sex scenes might have been with the actresses originally cast as the sisters (Juliette Lewis and Thora Birch). (2) The film has one of those ambiguous, under-explained endings that just leave you thinking, "whaaaa?"

Having made those points, I'll add that there is some talent on display in this film. Rural Lithuanian estates are pretty damned atmospheric in the wintertime, all three of the actors are competent, and the tone of the film is both consistent and effective.


The most memorable element of this production occurred off-camera. Silence Becomes You was filmed entirely with a high-definition (1920x1080) video camera with a true 16x9 aspect ratio. The film's dailies were projected each night onto a custom-designed ten foot screen with a special HD projector developed especially for this job, thus allowing a director in Vilnius to have even better "rushes" than he would have back in a Hollywood studio. The publicity material called this movie, "The world's first 100% digital cinematography feature film."  Read the detailed technical specs here.



  • No features
  • The transfer is widescreen (16x9), anamorphically enhanced for DVD, and is of good quality.



Sienna Guillory shows her breasts in a spirited sex scene.

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C. It's probably a better movie than indicated by my comments above. The 6.0 at IMDb is reasonable. It may be too deliberate, and it was obviously made with a bargain budget, but it held my attention until the ending. (Although it ticked me off that I invested so much concentration only to get to that unsatisfying ending.)

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