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‘The Silence’ Review: Fleeing Winged Peril for a Quieter Place

There may come a time when the Netflix algorithm grows sophisticated enough to cut out the middle man and write its own scripts, but until that day arrives, niche-targeted dreck like “The Silence” will have to suffice. If the streaming service’s recent hit “Bird Box” seemed like an ocular companion to the aural deprivation of “A Quiet Place,” this new film feels like a de facto prequel, catching the apocalyptic moment when hordes of sound-sensitive creatures wipe out the bulk of humanity.

For Shane Van Dyke, who wrote the script with his brother Carey, such “mockbuster” enterprises are his business: His credits include off-brand entertainments like “Transmorphers 2” and “Paranormal Entity,” and he even wrote and directed “Titanic II,” a disaster film set on a replica ship 100 years after the original voyage. Here, only a quality cast and more generous production values can cover up the shoddy stitching.

Though adapted from a 2015 novel by Tim Lebbon — himself a movie novelization specialist — “The Silence” echoes “A Quiet Place” in most of its particulars, including a deaf child fleeing with her family to a country refuge. Kiernan Shipka, of “Mad Men” fame, acquits herself well as Ally, a teenager whose heightened perception helps her parents (Stanley Tucci and Miranda Otto), grandmother (Kate Trotter) and little brother (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) escape pterosaur-like carrion called “Vesps.” The family dog has more trouble keeping mum.

“The Silence” posits a grand evolutionary struggle between mankind and its winged tormentors, but every moment feels like regression.

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