The Silent Scream Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 13, 2013
Obscured Slasher film is a good little shocker, but one that relies on the traditional genre formula in order to create the carnage on-screen. What we have here is a film that is entertaining, but doesn't break new ground and it is predictable. Diehard Slasher fans will certainly love this one, especially if you enjoy obscured, forgotten horror films, Silent Scream is for you. The kills are well done, and there is a steady build up to the first murders, which gives the film a tense atmosphere. Even if it's not a perfect film, this is a must see for genre fans, and it works as mindless entertainment. While relying on the traditional genre elements, Silent Scream is still one of those obscured gems that will delight fans even if it's predictable. The performances are decent at best, but the strength of the film lies in its kill sequences which are well thought out and will certainly put you on the edge of your seat. If you love films like this, give this one a shot, but it does leave room for improvement and it is a film clearly has its limitations, but manages to be an entertaining Slasher yarn due to the fact that the film has good sequences of murder and a few tense moments. As a whole, it's not the worst in the genre, but is not the best either. As obscured Slashers are concerned, this one delivers, but it could have been rewritten to expand on its interesting ideas that the director tried to convey. Silent Scream is a must for genre fans but if you're keen on low budget shockers, then this one is not for you. Still for all its imperfections, it's an entertaining ride from start to finish and I had fun watching the film. I simply wish that the script could have be revised and its ideas refined to make this one truly standout.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2010
A pretty good story, it's more of a psychological thriller than a horror movie, like I thought it was, but if you're a fan of Barbara Steele you'll enjoy seeing her in this, as I did.
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2007
"Silent Scream" is a great atmospheric 1980 slasher film released the same great summer as "The Shining", "Friday the 13th" and "The Empire Strikes Back", which is probably why it became so forgotten. Apparently it was released on VHS for a limited time, but it took me 27 years to finally find a copy to view. This needs a DVD release.

The opening credits still felt very 70's with a police car driving towards the camera, and officers rushing into an old house to find a series of bodies. It doesn't make much sense until the end of the movie, when we can say "duh" to the movie makers for revealing essentially nothing significant.

A cool premise: a group of college kids move to an Oceanside old mansion on a cliff, owned by a mysterious old lady and her peculiar son. There is also something creepy and murderous lurking deep within the walls of the house, watching them. I liked when the killer is watching one of the girls through a ceiling vent in her bedroom.

One by one, the youth would meet up with their doom. The killings, though few, are quite shocking and blood-soaked. Most of the characters were likeable. The one annoying guy didn't last very long. The movie drops a notch halfway through when the killer's identity is revealed and shown onscreen too much. There were a few nice twists in the final act which were a lot of fun.

The movie has a really good musical score, with screeching instruments and suspense building cues. There's a great scene where one of the vicious killings is viewed through the slats of the wall boards. Another good scene has a victim hiding herself in a bedroom closet while the killer repeatedly thrusts a sharp knife through the door frame. It's got that great 80's slasher feel.
½ January 9, 2014
The crumbling seaside board house makes for a creepy setting to begin with, and this slasher ramps things up nicely in the latter half, building to a cat and mouse of a climax that actually left me a little nervy, as it's shot in a fairly unique and quiet manner that you don't find in a lot of horror films.

Well worth a rental.
½ July 13, 2010
My roommate recommended this to me and it has to be about the lamest slasher flick I have ever seen. Only two people become victims and anyway, if there's something in the house killing people, why don't they just get out of the house?
½ August 29, 2010
This is a good mystery/horror/slasher movie for the most part. It's got a haunted house and young college students who get killed off by someone in the house. It gets predictable towards the end, but it's enjoyable enough for slasher fans.
December 9, 2012
Fun but forgotten '80s slasher - with Barbara Steele!
June 24, 2011
Fun but forgotten '80s slasher - with Barbara Steele!
September 10, 2010
(***): Thumbs Up

A decent slasher film. It was not as overly violent as others, but it was still entertaining.
September 25, 2006
The set-up for [i]Silent Scream[/i] would seem to place it firmly in slasher movie territory. A group of four students, all strangers, move into a boarding house run by an awkward teenager and his elderly mother, then the kids start getting killed off. It's no wonder that it was dismissed as one when released in 1980, just as the slasher genre was starting to peak. But [i]Silent Scream[/i] owes a lot more to [i]Psycho[/i] than [i]Friday the 13th[/i], and while it's not a perfect film by any means, it's a reasonable enough psychothriller.

Rebecca Balding plays Scotty, a new student who ends up renting a room (for $50 a month!) after failing to find a place on campus. In charge of the place seems to be antisocial teen Mason (Brad Engels), who warns the residents to keep away from his mother (Yvonne DeCarlo), who doesn't talk to anyone and seldom leaves the attic. The other boarders are a trio of college kids, including a love interest, a female best friend type and a rich guy. The group of students gets along well, but after their first night out drinking, one of them is found dead on the beach.

Standard psychothriller twists emerge, as police detectives Cameron Mitchell and Avery Schreiber pop in and out to generally try to figure out what the hell's going on at the house. It may have something to do with the woman living in what seems to be the walls, played by the ever-beautiful Barbara Steele in her only '80s film. Eventually another body turns up, secrets are revealed, and the expected title yelp emerges.

There's nothing particular original or unique about [i]Silent Scream[/i], but it still manages to be an entertaining time-passer. While much of this can be credited to the cast, some of it has to be the writing, which manages to be crisper and more natural than most films of this type. The characters are actually relatively believable and the dialogue mostly comes off as natural conversation rather than blunt attempts to define the characters. Having such a minimal cast probably helped, and the more relaxed feel to the relationships can excuse really odd moments, like the love interest suggesting to Scotty that they go to the beach--[i]the day after one of their roommates was murdered there[/i]. (Note to guys: Ladies do not view a friend's murder site as a great date location.)

Director Denny Harris keeps most of the action inside the house, lending it a nicely claustrophobic tone that's only occasionally disrupted by the adventures of the prattling cops. It manages to be sufficiently eerie and at times even racks up some genuine suspense, and since the characters are actually well-written, the death sequences have some impact. It's a shame that the last-act revelation isn't really all that shocking, thus slightly nullifying the conclusion, because everything up to then builds things up rather well.

Lost in the slasher movie boom, [i]Silent Scream[/i] isn't exactly a lost classic, but it's certainly better than its' obscurity would suggest. It's actually one of the better low-budget horror films of the era, and any movie that gives Yvonne DeCarlo and Barbara Steele a chance to chew the same scenery has got to be at least worth a look.
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