When people want to talk about really bad movies, it’s not long before Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls gets a mention. With just 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s only just above the likes of Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol, Highlander II: The Quickening and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 – all of which have a 0% rating on the reviews site.
But now there’s a new name in the lower reaches of ratings, a crime thriller from 2020 titled The Silencing. With just 20% on the Tomatometer, The Silencing is officially worse than Showgirls but better than Jaws: The Revenge.
And yet, among all the Christmas movies that make up Netflix’s top 10 this week, it’s the sixth most watched film on the best streaming service, racking up nearly four million views and outranking another crime thriller The Killer at seventh place. So who’s wrong: the critics or the viewers?
What are the critics saying about The Silencing?
The Silencing is a mystery crime thriller about a reformed hunter living a quiet life on a wildlife sanctuary. But he has a dark past, and guess what: he can’t escape it! A vicious killer is in town, and that killer may be the man who kidnapped his daughter some years previously.
Decider has seen it all before. It’s “a frowny-faced suspense exercise with a range of functional performances that are dutifully to the letter and totally set on simmer” that’s “like an extended episode of any basic cable murder drama.” And RogerEbert.com has definitely seen it all before, saying that “One does feel one’s seen this all before.” Rolling Stone says it’s a “long journey to a lame ending”, while Starburst says it’s “desperately dull and predictable”.
Not all the reviews are so damning, though. Reel Film Reviews says it’s “solid” and Common Sense Media says “it works due to the interestingly flawed characters and fine performances”. The Times of India says “it makes quite a killing” and Film Inquiry says it’s “an underseen, underrated film that knows why its tropes work and sticks to its guns”.
If you’d like to decide for yourself, The Silencing is streaming now on Netflix. And if you do end up deicing to watch a different crime thriller, there’s also The Killer or try these three top crime movies if you’ve seen it.